Pairwise and Tropic Biosciences Announce Licensing Deal to Utilize Base Editing Technology to Drive Innovation in Bananas and Coffee
Durham, N.C. – February 10, 2022 – Pairwise, a U.S. mission-driven food tech company that uses gene editing to develop new varieties of fruits and vegetables, and Tropic Biosciences (Tropic), a U.K. agricultural technology company focused on tropical crops, announced a deal that will grant access to base editing technologies in order to extend its game-changing potential to critically important crops with major global economic impact.
Base editing allows for precise and targeted changes to DNA and will enable Tropic to further accelerate plant breeding innovation in coffee and banana crops. Pairwise initially licensed base editing technologies from Harvard University, and has proven out the use of that technology across its portfolio, demonstrating the ability to transform and edit over 11 crops to date. The precision that base editing affords has allowed Pairwise to access traits that were not feasible with earlier editing technologies, unlocking a greater scope of natural variation found in these crops. This license agreement further extends the use of this technology to important tropical crops.
“As a mission-driven company, we believe it is imperative to forge alliances with other visionary companies who can extend our mission of building a healthier world,” said Ian Miller, Chief Development Officer of Pairwise. “This deal with Tropic Biosciences is an important step in the development of new varieties of tropical crops upon which billions of consumers and tens of millions of smallholder farmers rely, and further demonstrates the ability of our platform technologies to solve problems across the plant-based economy.”
“Gene editing is a once-in-a-generation type of innovation, and adding this powerful suite of base editing tools to the Tropic Biosciences toolbox will further support our efforts to address pressing challenges in bananas and coffee.” said Gilad Gershon, Chief Executive Officer of Tropic. “The deal with Pairwise is exciting, and will support our mission of bringing important innovation to regions and growers who would greatly benefit from better cultivation efficiencies, and improved sustainable environmental practices.”
Today, Tropic works on the big-acre, tropical crops of bananas, coffee, and rice, using its GEiGS® technology and other advanced breeding techniques. Given the dual pressures of climate change and disease, Tropic’s work could have a profound impact on the 25 million-plus coffee and banana growers worldwide, and the 400 million people who consume bananas and one billion people globally who consume over 1 million kilograms of coffee per year.
Pairwise is currently developing new types of leafy greens, berries, and cherries for consumers in the North American marketplace. Additionally, Pairwise has a $100 million, five-year collaboration with Bayer Crop Science to advance gene editing tools in row crops. In February 2021, Pairwise raised $90 million in a successful series B funding round, bringing total fundraising to $115 million when combined with the series A funding round. In three years, the company has grown to over 130 employees with additional anticipated growth in 2022.
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 across the plant-based economy. The company was founded by Chief Executive Officer Tom Adams and Chief Business Officer Haven Baker, with scientific co-founders J. Keith Joung, Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, David Liu, Director of the Merkin Institute of Transformative Technologies in Healthcare, and Vice-Chair of the Faculty at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT; and Feng Zhang, McGovern Investigator and a professor at MIT. For more information, visit http://www.pairwise.com/.
About Tropic Biosciences
Tropic Biosciences is one of the world’s leading agricultural gene-editing companies. Its team of over 120 professionals focuses on utilizing a unique suite of genetic technologies (e.g. CRISPR, GEiGS®) in addressing some of the most critical agricultural and environmental challenges in the massive coffee, banana and rice industries. For more information, visit http://www.tropicbioscience.com/.