• What We Do
  • Technology
  • Products
  • Partnerships
Press Releases

Press Releases

Press releases

Viterra and Evogene to Develop Canola with Improved Yield and Stress Tolerance Traits


REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA and REHOVOT, ISRAEL (February 13th, 2008) –Viterra (TSX: VT) and Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) today announced a joint collaboration to develop canola with improved yield and tolerance to abiotic stress. Under the three year collaboration, the companies will assess a number of Evogene discovered gene candidates in trials involving Viterra's elite canola lines. These varieties will be evaluated under normal and stress conditions. 

Abiotic stress refers to environmental factors, such as drought, extrme cold or heat that can have harmful effects on plants. Abiotic stress conditions have a significant impact on limiting worldwide crop productivity, especially under challenging and often variable seasonal climatic global conditions.

With the rapid increase in demand for canola oil worldwide, improving abiotic stress tolerance could significantly expand the geographical regions where canola is grown, minimizing the impact stress conditions have on productivity. 

“We are very pleased to work with Evogene to bring innovative solutions to the canola market. Our Company has an ongoing commitment to plant breeding that benefits our farm customers as well as our end-use customers. We believe this particular initiative will go a long way to improving canola yields and yield stability,” said Mayo Schmidt, Viterra’s President and CEO.  

The candidate genes covered in this agreement were discovered by Evogene utilizing its in-silico gene discovery platform, the "ATHLETE." These genes have been evaluated in model plants, showing improved yield under both normal and adverse environmental conditions.  

“We have been working with global ag-biotech companies to introduce these genes into major field crops.  We recently announced successful third year field trial results for one of these candidate genes - Evo133.  It is with this momentum that we go into our collaboration with Viterra, sharing that common goal to develop canola with improved yields and enhanced performance under a variety of conditions,” said Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO. 

Viterra, a leading provider of seed varieties in Canada, will evaluate the effect of these genes in its proprietary canola lines in field trials in Western Canada, the most important canola growing region in the world.  

The companies also intend to sign a co-operation and project funding agreement with the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) in which CIIRDF will provide financial support for the project. 

Development, testing and evaluation on Viterra’s canola varieties will begin this spring and take place over the next several years.  The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

About Evogene 

Evogene’s mission is to be a world leader in delivering improved plant traits to the agro-biotechnology and biofuel industries through the use of a continuously improving proprietary platform combining state-of-the-art computational genomics, molecular biology and advanced breeding methods. Evogene’s current trait development portfolio includes: abiotic stress tolerance and yield, improving nitrogen use efficiency, enhancement of cotton fiber quality, increasing yield for canola and soybean and plant manufacturing of therapeutic proteins.  Evogene was created in 2002 by the spin-off of the agro-biotechnology division of Compugen Ltd. (Nasdaq: CGEN). Evogene’s core in-silico technology, the ATHLETE, is based on Compugen’s proprietary LEADS computational platform.  Evogene completed an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in June 2007.  For additional information, please visit Evogene’s website at www.evogene.com

About Viterra

Viterra - Canada’s largest agribusiness - is built on the foundation of its heritage companies, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Inc. and Agricore United. The new company has extensive facility operations and distribution capabilities across Western Canada, with operations in the United States and Japan. Well-positioned geographically and with business segment diversity, Viterra serves its customers with a wide range of proprietary seed varieties, fertilizer, equipment, a full line of crop protection products, extensive agronomic and financial services and the largest network of grain handling and marketing resources in Canada. This provides the company’s destination customers in Europe, Asia, Latin America and other regions with a secure source of supply of high quality crops, including identity preserved varieties bred to customer specifications.  Viterra is focused on business sector management, technology leadership, strategic customers and markets, and emerging opportunities. For additional information, please visit Viterra’s website at www.viterra.ca

About the CIIRDF Foundation

The Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) was established in 1994 to promote collaborative R&D between firms in both countries. With a sophisticated research base to draw on in each country, Canadian and Israeli companies are well suited to form productive partnerships.  CIIRDF is involved in three broad complementary activities including promoting and marketing the benefits of joint Canadian-Israeli R&D collaboration, matching companies in one country seeking a research partner in the other and supporting projects by contributing up to 50% of the joint R&D costs. For additional information, please visit CIIRDF’s website at www.ciirdf.ca

Press releases for 2008