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Berkeley Lights and Bayer announce agreement to spur discovery of next-generation traits

New traits are in the future for farmers, company officials say.

Berkeley Lights, Inc., a firm specializing in the functional characterization of live biology, has announced a multi-year agreement with Bayer to develop and perform high-throughput functional screening workflows aimed at accelerating and expanding the discovery of novel traits. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Berkeley Lights will leverage its platform to screen individual variants of bioactives for Bayer in a high-throughput manner, say company officials. The outcome significantly accelerates discovery and development of novel traits, they add. This agreement marks the first application of Berkeley Lights’ technology for use in the agricultural sector.

“After evaluating the technology landscape, it became clear that the Berkeley Lights platform is uniquely positioned to enable Bayer Crop Science to deliver on our commitment for world-class innovation and standards in sustainability for farmers, consumers, and the environment,” said Brianna White, head of trait design and science for Bayer, in a news release. “Our agreement with Berkeley Lights to develop and perform high-throughput functional screening workflows will enable us to accelerate and expand our trait discovery program.”

“We are excited to support Bayer in the discovery and development of novel traits,” said Eric Hobbs, chief executive officer of Berkeley Lights, in a news release. “This agreement is an example of Berkeley Lights executing on our commitment to deploy our technologies into new, large market segments. Our proprietary approach to high-throughput functional screening is applicable to a variety of sectors and applications even beyond agriculture, including antibody, therapeutic protein, and enzyme engineering for pharmaceutical, life science, and industrial products.”

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