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Technology Collaboration Reaches First Milestone

DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred and Arzeda Corporation have reached the first milestone in a technology collaboration to develop new traits to increase agriculture productivity.

A novel enzyme developed by Arzeda is showing activity toward a trait of interest for two core crops for Pioneer - corn and soybean. This is another tool in Pioneer's growing technology toolbox that is helping to extend its leadership position in gene discovery and bring new crop solutions forward.

"We are excited to see the results of the hard work in the joint effort between Arzeda and Pioneer Hi-Bred; particularly, the successful application of Arzeda's technology to agricultural problems, validating our technology for commercial applications," said Eric Althoff, co-founder of Arzeda. "It is a credit to Pioneer that they are continually working on the cutting edge with innovative technologies." 

"This collaboration brings together the strengths of two technology leaders to develop a new generation of seed solutions," said Michael Lassner, Pioneer Vice President of Trait Discovery. "Arzeda's technology is a perfect fit with our gene shuffling technology and is helping us take gene discovery to a new level as we work to improve productivity through industry-leading products for customers worldwide."

In the collaboration, Arzeda is using its proprietary computational protein design technology to custom-design novel enzymes of commercial importance to Pioneer. Pioneer is using its expertise in crop molecular biology and biotechnology - including gene shuffling technology - to incorporate traits developed by the collaboration into seed products.

David Baker, professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington and one of Arzeda's founders adds, "This result is an exciting example of successfully transitioning a technology from an academic to an industrial setting.  Arzeda's enzyme design technology is applicable to a wide range of current problems."

Arzeda's groundbreaking technology integrates the power of chemical catalysis, the high selectivity of biological macromolecules, and the speed of computational design to rapidly design and screen novel enzymes that are currently inaccessible using traditional enzyme engineering approaches.

Gene shuffling technology is a proprietary trait enhancing tool Pioneer uses to optimize desired traits by multiplying the effectiveness of beneficial genes. It speeds up the gene discovery process and increases the effectiveness of traits that will deliver superior seed.

Arzeda, an emerging Seattle-based biotechnology company, is at the forefront of new markets integrating catalysis, computational protein design, and high-performance cloud computing. Specifically, Arzeda creates novel, reaction-specific enzymes to generate a wide range of new products for the agricultural and industrial biotechnology sectors. Arzeda is positioned for dramatic growth as the world pursues alternatives to petroleum-based products and seeks higher agricultural productivity. Arzeda's technology originated in the laboratory of David Baker, an internationally recognized biochemist and computational scientist at the University of Washington. Arzeda has licensed and continues to develop the technology, producing world-leading technologies for industrial protein design.

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, is the world's leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics, providing high-quality seeds to farmers in more than 90 countries. Pioneer provides agronomic support and services to help increase farmer productivity and profitability and strives to develop sustainable agricultural systems for people everywhere. Science with Service Delivering SuccessTM.