Cambridge, MA (February 13, 2019) - Inari, a company that is revolutionizing plant breeding by tapping natural genetic diversity, announced it has secured exclusive patent licenses for epigenetics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The agreement, through UCLA's Technology Development Group, gives Inari access to tools that will positively influence crop performance without altering a plant's genetic code.
Steve Jacobsen Ph.D., the UCLA professor who discovered this technology, is a scientific co-founder of Inari and a world-renowned expert in plant epigenetics, natural mechanisms that will enable Inari to re-introduce genetic diversity. When applied to plant breeding, epigenetics has the potential to dramatically improve field performance and confer other beneficial characteristics to crops.
"Discoveries that take place in our labs directly help solve global issues, and the fragility of the food system has been an issue of concern for some time now," said Roger Wakimoto Ph.D., UCLA vice chancellor for research. "By licensing our technology to Inari, we're able to apply high-impact research and scientific techniques to the private sector and watch the benefits unfold."
Inari's license through UCLA differentiates and strengthens its product development process, known as the Seed Foundry, and broadens its toolset to transform plant breeding and address global challenges, including climate change. The company is currently developing its first wave of commercial crops, including corn, soy and wheat.
"Collaboration and partnerships drive change that addresses the critical problems we face globally in agriculture," said Ponsi Trivisvavet, CEO of Inari. "Licensing this technology from UCLA provides us with a robust new approach that strengthens our efforts to create a winning food system."
Jacobsen's research will appear in today's issue of Nature Communications. Other Jacobsen epigenetics discoveries were featured Feb. 7 in Cell, a pre-eminent scientific journal that "publishes findings of unusual significance" in areas of experimental biology.
Founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2016, Inari seeks a winning food system, with its industry-disrupting Seed Foundry™, a process which taps the natural genetic diversity of plants in the context of climate change and respect for our environment. Inari works with seed companies to co-develop high performance seeds, with innovations directly benefiting farmers. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with development sites in West Lafayette, Indiana, and Ghent, Belgium, Inari has a growing team of over 90 employees. To learn more, visit Inari.com or follow us on Twitter @inari_ag.