"Transforming agriculture through our open innovation model"

As part of the company’s future of farming dialogue virtual event series, Bob Reiter, head of research and development at the Crop Science division of Bayer, will highlight the interconnectivity between scientific experts inside and outside of the company’s own network of R&D resources, their importance to innovation, and the next solutions to advance the future of agriculture. Reiter will join with CEOs from Pairwise, Rantizo and Oerth Bio during the global virtual event Open Innovation: how collaboration unlocks a sustainable future on February 15, 2021 (9:30am CST/4:30pm CET).

“Bayer is committed to transforming agriculture through our open innovation model,” said Reiter. “This R&D strategy allows us to join forces with partners of all sizes, from start-ups and scale-ups to academic institutions and established companies, to actively seek new creative ideas across the innovation ecosystem.”

Gene editing investments advance agriculture
Gene editing is the key to better solutions and greater choices for farmers and consumers around the world. Thanks to its R&D agreement with Pairwise, the Broad Institute and others, Bayer has access to the best genome editing tools. In crop science that means a transformative opportunity to improve yield and simplify harvesting for farmers.

“Tools like gene editing offer new solutions to food challenges producers and consumers alike are facing,” said Pairwise CEO Tom Adams. “Pairwise, through our partnership with Bayer, is advancing solutions that will drive faster innovation and more tangible changes to how we grow and harvest food.”

Investments in crop protection solutions reduce environmental impact 
Through Leaps by Bayer, investments in companies like Rantizo are enabling precision aerial pesticide applications while reducing soil compaction. Focusing the application of the right amount to the right plant allows an overall reduction in pesticide applications and of carbon emission compared to traditional sprayers. The process is better for the crop, better for the land, and better for the farmer, ultimately enabling a more sustainable food supply. Thanks to the recent Series A funding round led by Leaps by Bayer, Rantizo plans to serve even more farmers by expanding into additional geographies.

“The next 10 years of agricultural innovation will have an outsized impact on the long-term health of our global food system,” said John Dombrosky, Chief Executive Officer of Oerth Bio. “Imagine having the power to fundamentally enhance the resilience, durability and the quality of our global food supply while minimizing agriculture’s environmental impact and footprint. At Oerth Bio, we’re doing that by bridging a revolutionary therapeutic platform called PROTAC protein degraders into agriculture.”

Improving diets through increased quality and access
Working with experts using an AI-powered platform that engineers food proteins, Bayer is supporting science to help the hundreds of millions of people around the world who suffer from food allergies or sensitivities, including gluten. In tandem with other industry leaders and venture firms, Leaps by Bayer is funding the biotech company Ukko whose mission is to eliminate these health challenges. With improved proteins that are especially designed for people with celiac and other gluten sensitivities, bakers, food companies and home cooks can make delicious bread, pizza, pasta and baked goods that everyone can eat. Farmers could benefit from being able to sell a differentiated wheat crop at a premium price.

“At Bayer, we believe that every investment in innovation should also be an investment in sustainability,” said Reiter. “That's why we continue to seek partnerships from different sectors worldwide to achieve our vision of Health for All, Hunger for None. Innovation is a continuous cycle of exploration, discovery, testing and creation, and we believe progress can only truly be achieved when we use our collective ingenuity to pursue change.

The Future of Farming Dialogue features a variety of internationally renowned speakers and stakeholders from academia, industry and media. The focus of discussion is how to build more resilient food systems, accelerate sustainable-driven innovations and develop new business models that can reward farmers for their services to the ecosystem.

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