Multinational agrochemical and biotech company Monsanto and ToolGen, a Korean biotech firm specialising in genome editing, signed on 16 August a global licensing agreement for the use of ToolGen’s CRISPR platform to develop agri products.

The license provided Monsanto with access to ToolGen’s suite of CRISPR intellectual property for use in plants to develop modified crops, Monsanto said in a statement.

“We look forward to leveraging the CRISPR platform as we endeavour to meet the needs of farmers while answering consumer demand for food options,” said Tom Adams, vice president of biotechnology at Monsanto.

Monsanto and ToolGen said gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR, offered agri researchers “significant” advantages over existing plant breeding and biotech methods due to their versatility and efficiency.

“This agreement further validates our platform and demonstrates the value that gene editing will hold for the future of both agriculture and biotechnology,” said ToolGen CEO Jongmoon Kim.

The CRISPR technology allows researchers to cut DNA strands using enzymes and to introduce new genome sequences into the cut sections, which are then incorporated into the modified organisms as part of the DNA’s own repair process.