Smith Anderson Advises on Multi-Million Dollar Gene Editing Collaboration Between Pairwise and Bayer
Pairwise, a Smith Anderson client and agriculture company known for bringing the first gene-edited food to the U.S., has entered into a five-year, multi-million-dollar agreement with agricultural giant Bayer to develop protection for corn crops from severe weather and climate change.
The collaboration of Pairwise and Bayer will focus on CRISPR applications optimizing and enhancing gene-edited short-stature corn for future use in Bayer’s Preceon™ Smart Corn System. Short-stature corn – with a targeted height of 30 to 40 percent less than traditional corn – is a new approach to growing corn and offers a number of sustainability benefits, including protections from crop loss due to increasingly severe weather events and extreme winds brought about by climate change, according to the companies’ press release.
Representation of Pairwise in the transaction with Bayer was led by Smith Anderson attorneys John Therien and Victoria Hartmann. Smith Anderson has represented Pairwise in multiple transactions that have helped advance innovation in agriculture, including its initial five-year collaboration with Bayer for corn, soy, wheat, cotton and canola and its partnership with Plant Sciences, Inc. (PSI), a leading berry breeder and agricultural research company, to transform the berry market in the United States, creating new types of black and red raspberries and blackberries. In 2018, Smith Anderson represented Pairwise in its partnership with Monsanto Company to advance agriculture research by leveraging gene editing technology.
The New York Times recently featured Pairwise’s CRISPR applications in a story on gene edited food, “Meet the Climate-Defying Fruits and Vegetables in Your Future,” noting (Pairwise) researchers are working toward its next breakthrough, seedless blackberries that grow on compact, thorn-free vines, requiring less land, water and fertilizer.
Pairwise is a company dedicated to building a healthier world through better fruits and vegetables and is driven by the belief that healthy food should be consistently fresh, delicious, and convenient, Pairwise brings together leaders in agriculture, technology, and consumer foods to harness the transformative potential of new genomics technologies to create innovative new products. Pairwise is working to develop new varieties of crops, and to partner with organizations that seek to drive innovation and access across the plant-based economy. In February 2021, Pairwise raised $90 million in a successful series B funding round, bringing total fundraising to $115 million and now has over 160 employees in North Carolina and California.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and the planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. In fiscal year 2022, the group employed around 101,000 people.