This is a short list of some of the commonly known biotech companies that are developing genetically engineered crops. It is not an exhaustive list of all companies, but it should help you get familiar with some of them. Genetic engineering in agriculture is not exclusively done by private companies – many public organizations and nonprofits are also developing the technology.
In 2017, AgFunder News put together the Ag Biotech Market Map: 245 Startups Using Biology & Chemistry to Revolutionize Agriculture. This visual depiction includes biotech companies working in plant breeding as well as bio-pesticides, bio-fertilizers, and many other areas.
These biotech companies are the major players in agricultural genetic engineering in the private sector. Many of them have extensive plant breeding operations across the world, then add transgenic traits to their varieties.
- Bayer Cropscience is based in Monheim, Germany. Bayer Cropscience is a subsidiary of Bayer (BAYRY). The company formerly known as Monsanto was purchased by Bayer.
- Corteva Agriscience is based in Johnston, Iowa. Corteva was formerly Pioneer Hi-Bred, a subsidiary of DowDuPont (DWDP).
- Syngenta AG is based in Basel, Switzerland.
- Intrexon Corporation (XON) is based in Germantown, Maryland. They are a rapidly growing company with biotechnology interests in plants, animals, microbes, and human applications. They purchased the following companies:
- Aqua Bounty (AQB) is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. They are known for their fast growing salmon.
- Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. is based in Summerland, British Columbia. They work on tree-fruit traits, and are known for their non-browning apple.
- BASF (BASF) is based in Ludwigshafen, Germany. While primarily a chemical company, they are rapidly expanding their biotechnology division.
Other Biotech Companies
There are a lot more biotech companies working on genetic engineering than just the major players above. Many study individual traits, and if successful in their research, may license their technology to larger companies that can incorporate it into their crops. Some are developing their own varieties and seeking regulatory approval.
- ArborGen LLC is based in Summerville, South Carolina. They study the genetics of trees, from wood quality to restoring endangered tree species such as the American Chestnut.
- Arcadia Biosciences is based in Davis, California. They develop nitrogen use efficiency for crops, as well as salt tolerance, and works on the healthful composition of foods.
- Exelixis is based in South San Francisco, California.
- Mendel Biotechnology is based in Hayward, California. They have developed a yield-increasing trait in soybeans using genetic engineering.
- Targeted Growth, Inc. is based in Seattle, Washington.
- Florigene Pty Ltd, based in Victoria, is a subsidiary of Suntory Group in Tokyo, Japan. Their research focuses on introducing new colors into ornamental flowers and have produced the world’s first purple carnations and the first true blue rose.
- Performance Plants, Inc. is based in Kingston, Ontario. They conduct research on abiotic stress and yield, and biofuel-related traits.
- SemBioSys is based in Calgary, Alberta. They work on pharmaceutical traits and are developing GLA-rich safflower oil.
- Mahyco is based in Dawalwadi. They partnered with Monsanto to introduce Bt cotton to India.
- Metahelix Life Sciences Pvt Ltd is based in Karnataka. They own Dhaanya Seeds.
- Evogene is based in Rehovot.
- Protalix is based in Carmiel. They conduct research on producing therapeutic proteins in plant cells.
- Genetwister Technologies B.V. is based in Wageningen. They use functional genomics and expression profiling to discover important genes in plants.
- KeyGene is based in Wageningen. Founded by several large Netherlands seed companies, it is a cooperative research group that conducts genomic research on plant genetics. One of the crops they work on is aphid-resistant lettuce. They also have a US office in Maryland.
- Pannar Seed International, based in Greytown, South Africa, is also venturing into biotechnology.
Do you know of a biotech company that we can add to the list? Has the status of any of these companies changed? Please contact us. Thank you for helping us compile this list!