Client Elo Life Systems Partners with Dole Food Company to Develop Banana Varieties Resistant to Devastating Fungal Disease

Smith Anderson client Elo Life Systems, a food and agriculture company, announced a strategic partnership with Dole Food Company, one of the world’s largest producers of high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables, aiming to develop multiple banana varieties with resistance to the devastating fungal disease, Fusarium wilt.

According to a press release issued by Elo, Fusarium wilt, caused by the Tropical Race 4 (TR4) strain of a plant pathogenic fungus called Fusarium, is a fast-spreading pandemic threatening the continued cultivation of the world’s most popular fruit in a $25 billion banana industry. The disease was detected in Colombia in August 2019 and is expected to spread throughout Latin America.

According to Elo’s Chief Executive Officer Fayaz Khazi, Ph.D., “Spread of Fusarium wilt would not only have devastating consequences to the banana industry, but also have a significant economic impact on farmers in the affected regions whose livelihoods depend on exports of the Cavendish banana.” The Cavendish banana is the world’s most popular commercial variety of bananas.

Under the terms of the partnership agreement, Elo will be primarily responsible for the discovery, evaluation, and development of multiple approaches to achieve resistance to Fusarium wilt, and Dole will be responsible for field evaluation and commercialization of Fusarium TR4 resistant Cavendish varieties. Dole will fully fund the research and development at Elo, in addition to paying royalties on the commercialized plant product. As part of the collaborative effort, Elo will use its proprietary suite of tools, including its cutting-edge knowledge mining platform, gene discovery pipeline, trait validation workflows, and end-to-end expertise in translational agriculture, in combination with its proprietary homing endonuclease-based genome editing platform.


(Graphic provided by Elo Life Systems)

To read the full press release, please click here.

The Smith Anderson team advising Elo in the strategic partnership was led by AgTech team co-lead Jason Brege and included Irina Oberman Khagi. Ranked by international legal directory Chambers Global for Agribusiness, the AgTech team has advised Elo since inception, including in various other collaborations with leading food and agriculture companies. Elo is one of our many worldwide clients who are transforming the way in which food is grown and the planet is fed.

About Elo Life Systems, Inc.

Elo’s mission is to create novel products that enhance the nutrition and diversity of the global food supply. To address agricultural needs, Elo partners with stakeholders in the food systems value chain to bridge gaps and meet needs across agricultural productivity, nutritional demand, food security, climate-resilience, and human wellness. Elo Life Systems, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Precision BioSciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: DTIL). To learn more about Elo Life Systems please visit



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