Monsanto to collaborate with Second Genome on protein discovery project

Monsanto retains the option to pursue commercial opportunities from the results of the multiyear agreement. | File photo
A research agreement between Monsanto and Second Genome was reached Tuesday to accelerate the discovery of new microbiome-based solutions.

This discovery would help farmers tackle environmental problems. Monsanto will bring its extensive genomic databases to the agreement while Second Genome will use their expertise in analyzing microbial function through big data metagenomics, protein discovery, machine learning and predictive analytics.

Second Genome will analyze the efficacy of beneficial proteins from the microbiome for agricultural and insect-control use.

“Data science holds tremendous promise in unlocking new discoveries across our entire research and development pipeline,” Tom Adams, biotechnology lead for Monsanto, said. “This collaboration highlights how advances in biology and data science are converging to create opportunities for agriculture to identify new solutions to age-old problems. Through Second Genome’s analytics, we aim to better predict the effectiveness of new applications across our research and crop portfolios.”

Monsanto retains the option to pursue commercial opportunities from the results of the multiyear agreement while Second Genome retains the right to apply the findings to other areas which would be helped by the results such as healthcare.

“Similar to its role in human health, microbial function has a significant influence in agricultural applications and new research in microbiome science is likely to unlock new solutions for the agriculture industry,” Second Genome CEO and President Glenn Nedwin said. “This collaboration allows us to apply our broad microbiome technology platform with Monsanto’s vast microbial function data to develop new solutions that will contribute to the prosperity of growers in the future. At the same time, we can continue to focus our programs on areas of human health, where our team has demonstrated an ability to discover molecules of interest for major unmet medical needs.”

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