Syngenta today announced that it will build a new biotech research + technology center in Beijing, China. Its focus will be on early-stage evaluation of GM and native traits for key crops such as corn and soy, in the areas of yield improvement, drought resistance, disease control and biomass conversion for biofuels. The new facility will have a global scope and will complement Syngenta's biotech research activities in the US. The investment will be approximately $65 million in the first five years.
"China is increasingly recognized for the scale and caliber of its biotech expertise in agriculture," says Dave Lawrence, Head of R&D and a member of Syngenta's Executive Committee. "Having our own research base in Beijing will accelerate innovation and offer powerful opportunities to work more closely with Chinese research institutes, which is all the more relevant now in a world that sees higher global demand for crops."
The new center, Syngenta Biotechnology (China) Co Ltd, will be built at Zhongguancun Life Science Park in Beijing. Until the new facilities are completed in 2010, adjacent temporary facilities will enable operations to commence from summer 2008. The biotech center will initially employ some 100 researchers and staff, increasing to around 200 after the new building is opened in 2010.
China is both an important producing and consuming agricultural region. Syngenta is expanding its partnerships to contribute to further growth in Chinese agriculture with seeds and crop protection technology. Earlier this month, Syngenta completed the share transaction with leading Chinese corn seeds company Sanbei Seed Co Ltd in Hebei province, in which it has taken a 49% stake. Last year, Syngenta entered into a five-year research collaboration with the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) in Beijing on the development of novel agronomic traits for key crops such as corn, soybean, wheat, sugar beet and sugar cane.