Focus on Innovation

Crop Science

With agricultural expertise spanning more than 100 years, we have a solid track record in farm chemistry research and leadership in biologicals. Above all, the Monsanto acquisition brings leading seed brands and a strong foundation in plant biotechnology traits. As a leading partner to farmers around the world, we are focused on innovation. Working with digital applications and cutting-edge technologies, we develop and market a broad spectrum of tailored solutions for farmers that enable greater productivity in a sustainable way. Our research is aimed at improving agricultural productivity regardless of where farming is taking place, the amount of land being farmed or the agricultural practices deployed.

Our research and development activities are driven by approximately 7,300 dedicated scientists and researchers operating at more than 35 research and development sites and 175 breeding sites. With a projected annual R&D budget of approximately €2.4 billion over the coming years, we are committed to remaining an industry leader now and in the future when it comes to agricultural innovation in the lab and in the field.

Bayer worldwide; see also graphic in Chapter “Corporate Structure”

Bayer also enters into collaborations with external partners to drive innovation. We plan to work through an established network to bring new solutions to farmers. Combined R&D spending through Leaps by Bayer (including Bayer Growth Ventures) and other venture capital investment will further improve the future pipeline of sustainable agriculture solutions.

Research and development capacities

Our R&D is focused on developing technologies across multiple platforms to deliver tailored solutions to farmers. Bringing together our expertise across multiple disciplines uniquely positions us to deliver more innovation faster. Here we focus on the following technologies and areas:

Breeding

We tap into our leading germplasm from around the world to find genetics that best meet farmers’ regional needs. Before a product is brought to market, we test and monitor its performance through numerous combination scenarios. Our researchers use digital sensors and field imaging to evaluate a large number of products side by side in diverse environments and to learn how plants respond to stress.

Biotechnology

Biotechnology has helped us to develop highly effective solutions over the past 30 years, specifically strengthening plants’ resistance to diseases, insects or adverse weather conditions. We transfer beneficial traits, such as an ability to use water efficiently, to a new plant so that it can better survive in its environment. Over the past 20 years, developments such as GM crops have helped to enhance nutrition as well as to make farming more profitable and sustainable by reducing tillage, for example.

See also Chapter “Product Stewardship” for information about genetic engineering

Crop protection

We develop innovative, safe and sustainable crop protection tools – such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides – that play an essential role in achieving a good harvest. They are an important part of our current product offerings and will continue to be a significant focus of our research and development efforts.

Biologicals

Farmers increasingly seek to protect their crops with solutions that span synthetic chemistry, molecular biology and biologicals. We use our expertise and competency in different technology platforms to lead in providing sustainable crop protection solutions. Biologicals contain or are derived from naturally occurring materials, or are based on naturally occurring processes. They can complement or replace traditional fertilizers and chemicals.

Digital applications

The world of agriculture is being transformed by data science, and particularly by algorithms, analytics, deep learning and artificial intelligence, which can deliver crucial benefits for farmers. The potential of a crop plant relies on many complex interactions in the field. For example, yield is dependent on genetics, environmental factors (weather and pest / disease burdens) and agronomic practices. The goal of digital solutions is to give farmers recommendations as to what products to use, in what amount, in what location, and at what time during the season in order to optimize harvest yields.

Research and development pipeline

Our product pipeline contains numerous new crop protection products, seed varieties, digital products and enhanced products (life cycle management). The existing innovation activities at Crop Science are now being supplemented by the product innovation pipeline from Monsanto. The acquired pipeline includes a large number of next-generation biotech pest and weed control plant traits, several new seed treatments, and various digital applications that are currently in development. We estimate the peak sales potential of products with launch dates from 2017 to 2022 to be more than €17 billion.3 In 2018, we launched confirmatory technical proof-of-concept field studies for five new chemical / biological active ingredients or plant traits.4

3 Subject to regulatory approvals, the expected peak potential pertains only to a selection of products in the pipeline. Products from the digital farming segment are important applications for achieving our peak sales potential. Peak sales are not risk-adjusted and are not to be regarded as cumulative in business areas in which we are already active. This means that additional sales may be generated at the expense of existing product sales.
4 A new plant trait is a specific characteristic that has not previously been available or offered at Bayer for the crop plant in question.

The following table shows a selection of new products in late development phases, sorted by key crop, that are highly likely to be launched by 2021.

Product Innovation Pipeline1

Crop

 

Market launch

 

Product group

 

Indication

 

Product / trait

1

Planned market launch of selected new products, subject to regulatory approval

As of November 2018

Corn

 

2021

 

Biotechnology trait

 

Pest management

 

SmartStax PRO

 

 

2021

 

Breeding / native trait

 

Disease management

 

Goss wilt

Soybeans

 

2019

 

Breeding / native trait

 

Pest management

 

Soybean cyst nematode

 

 

2020

 

Biotechnology trait

 

Weed management

 

Xtendflex soybeans

 

 

2021

 

Biotechnology trait

 

Pest management

 

Intacta2Xtend soybeans

Rice

 

2019

 

Crop protection

 

Pest management

 

Vayego (tetraniliprole)

Oilseed rape / canola

 

2019

 

Biotechnology trait

 

Weed management

 

TruFlex canola

 

 

2019

 

Biotechnology trait

 

Weed management

 

LL canola

Cotton

 

2021

 

Biotechnology trait

 

Pest management

 

Lygus / thrips cotton

Horticulture

 

2019

 

Crop protection

 

Disease management

 

Tiviant (isotianil)

New products and registrations

In 2018, we received marketing authorization in numerous countries for new mixtures and formulations, as well as for expanded indications for existing products and expanded licensing agreements. Key products introduced by and marketing authorizations granted to Monsanto in 2018 prior to the acquisition on June 7, 2018, are also included and identified accordingly to give a better overview.

In May 2018, prior to the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer, Corteva Agriscience (Indianapolis, Indiana, United States), the agriculture division of DowDuPont Inc., and Monsanto Company (St. Louis, Missouri, United States) announced the signing of a licensing agreement for next-generation technology for insect control in corn for the United States and Canada. Corteva Agriscience will receive a license to stack Monsanto’s Corn Rootworm III and MON89034 traits with Corteva Agriscience’s insect control traits. The technology will be offered with the Enlist™ herbicide-tolerant trait for corn and is effective against below-ground insect pests.

Serenade™ ASO biological fungicide / bactericide was approved in France for the first time in October 2018. The registration covers foliar and soil applications on a wide range of crops, including oilseed rape / canola, sugar beets, grapes, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. Serenade™ ASO is exempt from the requirements of residue tolerances (MRLs) due to its favorable safety profile.

Collaborations

Crop Science is part of a global network of partners from diverse segments of the agriculture industry and works together with numerous other NGOs, universities and other public and private institutes. In 2018, we entered into new research partnerships and extended existing collaborations. A selection of these is detailed below. Key collaborations entered into by Monsanto in 2018 prior to the acquisition on June 7, 2018, are also included and identified accordingly to give a better overview.

See also Chapter “Focus on Innovation” “Global open innovation network”

At the beginning of March 2018, Bayer and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), headquartered in Los Baños, Philippines, signed an agreement confirming Bayer’s participation in the Direct Seeded Rice Consortium led by IRRI to drive forward modern rice cultivation technologies in Asia.

In March 2018, prior to the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer, Monsanto and AgriMetis, LLC (Lutherville, Maryland, United States) announced the continuation of their research collaboration with the AgriMetis SpinoMetis platform, which includes novel insect protection compounds derived from a naturally occurring bacterium. The agreement includes an exclusive global license from AgriMetis to Bayer for agricultural research in row, vegetable and other crops for a three-year period, as well as an option for Monsanto to acquire exclusive commercial rights at the end of the term.

Also in March 2018, prior to the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer, Monsanto and Pairwise Plants (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, United States) announced a collaboration to advance agriculture research and development by leveraging gene-editing technology. Under the agreement, Pairwise will work exclusively with Bayer in corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and oilseed rape / canola crops.

In April 2018, Bayer joined with selected members of the agriculture industry – BASF, Mitsui Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical Company and Syngenta – to pledge its ongoing support to the research, development and supply of innovative Vector control describes methods for the avoidance or targeted control of organisms that transmit pathogens triggering infectious diseases. Vectors include blood-sucking insects such as the Anopheles mosquito, which can transfer malaria parasites, for example. solutions to help eradicate malaria by 2040. This industry collaboration is coordinated by the Innovative Vector Control Consortium.

Also in April 2018, we joined with International Finance Corporation (Washington, D.C., United States), Netafim Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Ltd. (Zürich, Switzerland) in launching a global alliance named Better Life Farming. The aim is to provide comprehensive and innovative solutions for smallholder farmers in the developing world with less than two hectares of land to enable them to grow their farms into sustainable businesses.

In September 2018, Bayer and Genedata AG in Basel, Switzerland, expanded their longstanding partnership in the digitalization of R&D processes. The expanded agreement includes a license for the Genedata Selector platform to support the processing, storage, analysis and evaluation of genomic data for the development of new innovative fungicides to treat plant diseases.

The following table provides an overview of strategically important long-term collaborations that are currently ongoing.

Important Cooperations

Partner

 

Collaboration objective

BASF SE

 

Cofunded collaboration agreement to develop transgenic products with increased yield stability in corn and soybeans

Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation – Embrapa

 

R&D cooperation to address specific agricultural challenges in Brazil, e.g. Asian soybean rust

2Blades Foundation

 

Collaboration research program to identify Asian soybean rust resistance genes in legumes and genes to control fungal diseases in corn

Citrus Research Development Foundation, Inc.

 

Search for solutions to citrus greening disease, which currently threatens the global citrus production and juice industry

Elemental Enzymes Ag and Turf, LLC

 

Use of soil microbes to improve plant health and thereby increase crop productivity

Energin .R Technologies 2009 Ltd. (NRGENE)

 

Collaboration to develop a sequence-based pangenome and haplotype database to facilitate molecular breeding approaches

Evogene Ltd.

 

Research program to identify genes for fungal disease resistance in corn

Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

 

Research collaboration focused on phenotyping of biologicals in plants

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)

 

Partnership for the discovery and development of innovative weed management solutions (herbicides)

Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC)

 

Joint development of new substances to control mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as malaria and dengue fever

Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas in Greece (IMBB-FORTH)

 

Collaboration seeking to reveal key aspects of insect gut physiology and discover novel targets for the development of insect control solutions

KWS SAAT SE

 

Joint collaboration and commercial agreement for herbicide-tolerant sugar beet

Nimbus Discovery, Inc.

 

Collaboration to develop broad-spectrum fungicides with new modes of action

Nomad Bioscience GmbH

 

Research program to develop partner’s proprietary technology for increased efficiency of genome editing projects aimed at crop enhancements

Novozymes A/S (BioAg Alliance)

 

Alliance to codevelop new sustainable microbial solutions for crop agriculture

Pairwise Plants

 

Research alliance to develop genome editing tools and products in corn, soybeans, cotton, oilseed rape / canola, and wheat

Pivot Bio

 

Research collaboration to develop an improved soil bacterium strain for increased nitrogen fixation in soybeans

Second Genome, Inc.

 

Alliance that leverages partner’s microbiome / metagenomics platform to expand sourcing and diversity of novel proteins for the development of next-generation insect control traits

Targenomix GmbH

 

Development and application of systems biology approaches to achieve a better understanding of metabolic processes in plants

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