DuPont Joint Venture Strengthens Gene Discovery Research Efforts

DuPont and Beijing Weiming Kaituo Agriculture Biotechnology Company announced the formation of a joint venture to accelerate the discovery of genes for high value agronomic traits such as stress tolerance and efficient nutrient utilization to improve the performance of important crops for farmers in China and throughout the world.

For DuPont, this marks another step toward the globalization of its R&D capabilities to accelerate new product launches and drive business growth for its worldwide seed business, Pioneer Hi-Bred.

"Novel trait combinations that provide plants with genetic solutions to successfully confront the challenges of water and nutrient deficiencies and cope with unfavorable wind and temperature extremes resonate with every farmer I've ever worked with," said Bill Niebur, DuPont vice president, Crop Genetics Research and Development.

The joint venture will be managed by Dr. James H. Zhou, former chief executive officer of BWK. Dr. Guihua Lu of DuPont Crop Genetics has been appointed as deputy general manager and technology manager.

"China has emphasized that its growth efforts need to place a greater emphasis on sustainability and the environment," said Douglas Muzyka, president of DuPont Greater China and Du Pont China Holding Co., Ltd. "Clearly, DuPont's core values and global strategies for growth align with China's vision to develop its agricultural sector and overall economy. This research-focused joint venture will allow us to develop more sustainable technologies to address the global challenges of improving agricultural economics — enhancing farmers' quality of life and securing the world's food supply on a decreasing amount of cultivatable land."

Pioneer is the first major global seed business to have a significant presence in key Chinese corn markets through two previous joint ventures. Pioneer established a business representative office in Beijing in 1997. A year later, it began breeding and testing corn hybrids for commercialization in China for the summer and spring corn areas. The first Pioneer corn hybrids were approved for commercialization in 2002. Pioneer established a summer corn joint venture, Shandong Denghai Pioneer Seeds Co., Ltd., in late 2002. The first commercial sales were in 2004, and the business has grown significantly since. In 2006, Pioneer announced its second joint venture with one of China's largest seed production companies, Dunhuang Seed Co., Ltd., to provide top-performing corn hybrids to Chinese farmers in the spring market.

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