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Origin Agritech Limited (NASDAQ: SEED) (“Origin” or the “Company”), a technology-focused supplier of hybrid and genetically modified crop seeds in China, today provided update on its Genetically Modified (“GM”) corn seed pipeline and hybrid corn seed development program.
GM Corn Seed Pipeline
Genetically modified seed products in China must initially undergo a five-stage approval process consisting of Phase 1 - Laboratory Research, Phase 2 - Intermediate Test, Phase 3 - Environment Release Test, Phase 4 - Production Test, leading to the receipt of the Bio-Safety Certificate from Ministry of Agriculture (“MOA”) in Phase 5. Currently, only domestic seed producers such as Origin Agritech are allowed to proceed through all five phases, while international companies are restricted to Phase 1 only and forbidden to proceed to Phases 2 through Phase 5.
Origin’s genetically modified phytase corn was the first GM corn seed which passed all five phases of the GM approval process and received notification of Bio-Safety Certificate. Origin has further incorporated phytase traits into two of its best-selling commercial corn hybrids. Commercialization of these two corn hybrids is pending approval from the Chinese government. Two additional corn hybrids with GM phytase traits are undergoing variety production test.
Phytase is an essential element for the growth and development of all animals by increasing phosphorous absorption. Phytase transgenic corn inputs the phytase trait directly into corn, thus reducing costs for animal feed producers by eliminating the need to mix phytase and corn ingredients together. Origin’s GM phytase-producing corn is expected to reduce the need for inorganic phosphate supplements as animals will directly absorb more phosphate from their feed, reducing animal feed’s high cost.
In addition to GM phytase corn, the Company has been conducting research on other GM traits including herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, nitrogen efficiency, and drought stress tolerance traits in crop seeds.