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Benson Hill Launches the First Fully Enabling Genome Editing System for Crop Improvement

By Benson Hill

October 19, 2017

System Available to Partners to Leverage Natural Plant Genetic Diversity

LONDON, UK. — October 19, 2017—Benson Hill , an agricultural technology company dedicated to unlocking the natural genetic potential of plants, today announced at the Future Food-Tech Conference the commercial launch of Edit, powered by CropOS™, the first complete genome editing system made accessible to partners for the development of improved crops.

“There is an urgent need to redefine the model of crop innovation and drive greater improvement in the health and resiliency of our food system,” said Matt Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill .  “Genome editing can help level the playing field, empowering a robust community of innovators to modernize our food system with simpler ingredients and production methods – plant-based proteins and ancient grains, natural disease resistance, and other targets that create more choice for both farmers and consumers.”

A Uniquely Comprehensive Genome Editing System to Unlock Nature’s Diversity

The Edit system combines the analytical power of Benson Hill’s CropOS™ computational platform with a robust portfolio of novel genome editing nucleases to create the first comprehensive genome editing system.  Edit is designed to optimize plant characteristics such as flavor profiles, nutrient-density, and environmental sustainability with greater speed and precision than previously possible.

“The combination of a machine learning-based prediction engine with best-in-class genome editing chemistry affords users of CropOS an unprecedented opportunity to innovate in a rapidly evolving food system,” said Dr. Paul Skroch, Vice President of Data Science and Platform Engineering for Benson Hill.  “The parallel advancements in AI, big data, and the cloud are converging to address the most substantial challenge for an effective genome editing system: efficiently identifying specific sequence locations in the plant genome to edit.  Using an integrated platform, we are accelerating the plant breeding process and more fully leveraging natural genetic diversity as a differentiator in product development.”

Empowering Innovation to Improve our Food System

CropOS is a community platform that empowers companies of any size throughout the food and agriculture value chain to access the most advanced tools in seed innovation without major infrastructure costs or distraction from their core business.  Benson Hill’s Edit system combines insights from CropOS with a diverse portfolio of novel CRISPR 3.0 nucleases shown to demonstrate broad application and a smaller size for easier delivery.

“Few industries can have as much impact to reduce CO2 levels as food production,” said Mark Cupta, Principal at Prelude Ventures, which co-led Benson Hill’s $25M Series B round of financing.  “From photosynthesis efficiency to soil health, Benson Hill empowers organizations to reduce the footprint and increase the resiliency of agricultural supply chains, an approach that fully aligns with our mission to promote innovations that have a positive impact on climate.”

Click here to learn more about the technical benefits and business applications of the Edit system.


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