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Bayer acquires German start-up Targenomix

In an effort to expand Bayer's crop protection systems biology platform, the company has acquired German biotech start-up Targenomix. The Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI MPP) spin-off uses novel systems biology and computational life science tools to identify new modes of action for crop protection compounds.

With this acquisition, Bayer hopes to accelerate the discovery and development of molecules with the potential to make agricultural production more sustainable despite dynamic challenges such as climate change, and increasing weed, disease, and insect resistance.

“By using a unique and holistic systems biology approach and leveraging leading expertise building on a strong scientific foundation stemming from the MPI MPP, Targenomix has delivered numerous novel targets and modes of action for small molecules in weed control,” said Robert Reiter, Head of R&D at Bayer’s Crop Science Division, in a news release. “Their innovative tools to identify and select safe and sustainable compounds complement our design-based strategy in crop protection discovery and will accelerate the development of new products that farmers need to meet future challenges of agriculture.”

Bayer and Targenomix have been collaborators since 2014, when they discovered and developed the first new post-emergence mode of action for broadacre weeds control in 30 years. The molecule has shown effective control of key resistant grasses and is expected to be commercialized by the end of the decade.

“I am very happy about the integration of Targenomix into the Bayer family which secures a long-term future for Targenomix and its employees," said Lothar Willmitzer, director emeritus of the MPI MPP and founder of Targenomix, in a news release. “Targenomix’ unique expertise in systems and computational biology will significantly strengthen and broaden the capabilities of Bayer in the area of crop protection and beyond.”

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