Focus on Innovation

Crop Science

At Crop Protection, we pursue the goal of identifying and developing innovative, safe and sustainable active ingredients for use as insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and crop efficiency products for foliar and soil application as well as seed treatment. These substances also undergo further development for professional applications outside of farming (Environmental Science), such as in pest control and Vector control describes methods for the avoidance or targeted control of organisms that transmit pathogens triggering infectious diseases. Vectors include blood-sucking insects such as the Anopheles mosquito, which can transfer malaria parasites, for example. to combat diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. They are also used to control weeds and maintain sport facilities and public parks. At Seeds, meanwhile, we are conducting research and development for optimized plant traits and are developing new varieties in cotton, oilseed rape / canola, soybeans, rice, wheat and vegetables. Our scientists are working on increasing the yield potential of crops, enhancing their quality and developing new herbicide tolerance and insect resistance traits based on novel modes of action, and improving tolerance against disease and extreme weather conditions.

Crop Science maintains a global network of research and development facilities. While research is carried out centrally at a number of dedicated sites, development of crop protection products as well as plant breeding and trait development activities take place both at these sites and at numerous field testing and breeding stations in all regions. Our scientists working across the areas of seed traits, seed technology, seed breeding, agricultural chemistry and biologics closely collaborate as part of our integrated research approach. This optimally combines our complementary expertise in chemistry and biology.

To provide farmers with sustainable agronomic recommendations, we develop digital products and services that support them through the use of specific data models, among other things, in evaluating conditions in the field. Our long-term goal is to help farmers to improve their yields by providing them with tailored recommendations.

Group target 2017:

transfer of three new molecular entities (NMEs), plant traits or biologics into confirmatory technical proof-of-concept field studies

Research and development pipeline

Our product pipeline contains numerous new crop protection products, seed varieties and enhanced products (life cycle management). We estimate the combined peak sales potential of products with launch dates between 2015 and 2020 to be more than €5 billion. In 2017, we launched confirmatory technical proof-of-concept field studies for two new active ingredients. For 2018, we are setting ourselves the target of launching confirmatory technical proof-of-concept field studies for three to four chemical / biological active ingredients or plant traits[1]. The following table shows selected new products that are expected to be launched by 2020.

Product Innovation Pipeline1

Market launch
Product group
Indication / crop
Product / plant trait

2018

Chemical and biological crop protection

Insecticide / SeedGrowth

Poncho / VOTiVO 2.0

2019

Seeds

Rice

Salt and flood tolerance (native trait)

2019

Chemical crop protection

Insecticide

Tetraniliprole

2019

Chemical crop protection

Fungicide

Tiviant™

2019

Seeds

Oilseed rape / canola

Herbicide tolerance

2019

Seeds

Oilseed rape / canola

New oil profile (native trait)

2019

Seeds

Rice

Dual disease tolerance (native trait)

2019

Seeds

Soybeans

Triple herbicide tolerance

2020

Seeds

Oilseed rape / canola

Dual herbicide tolerance (1)

2020

Seeds

Oilseed rape / canola

Dual herbicide tolerance (2)

1 Planned market launch of selected new products
As of September 11, 2017

New products and registrations

In 2017, Crop Science received marketing authorization in numerous countries for new mixtures and formulations, as well as for expanded indications for existing products.

In January 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture in China approved for import Balance™ GT soybeans with the new herbicide tolerance trait. Crop Science and MS Technologies LLC, which owns the rights to Balance™ GT, are codeveloping it as part of a cooperation agreement. The launch of the full Balance™ GT / Balance™ Bean system, including the corresponding herbicide, is planned for 2018 in the United States, the world’s top soybean producer, pending the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commercial label registration of Balance™ Bean anticipated in 2018.

Furthermore, the new TwinLink™ Plus cotton technology was launched on the U.S. market in 2017. With three modes of action against insect pests added to the double herbicide tolerance, it provides season-long protection and further improves resistance management. In April 2017, Bayer received regulatory approval for the biological nematicide BioAct™ Prime DC in Greece. The new substance is intended for use in a variety of fruit and vegetables and directly targets eggs and larvae from nematode pests. Further approvals are planned in other European countries.

In May 2017, we launched a new rice seed in India that offers pest resistance and disease tolerance. The market launch in the Philippines is planned for 2018. In June 2017, we launched a rice seed in Bangladesh that offers flood tolerance.

Major success can be achieved with vegetables and many broad-acre crops using conventional and molecular plant breeding methods. As vegetables are intended especially to be marketed and eaten fresh, merchants and consumers have particularly strict requirements and expectations regarding their taste, appearance, nutrient content and shelf life. We continuously launch new vegetable seed varieties with these quality traits, such as the Sweet Spark cantaloupe variety developed in conjunction with U.S. retailer Walmart, Inc. In addition, we launch numerous new broad-acre crop varieties every year.

Environmental Science also launched new products in 2017. These included the Exteris™ fungicide for the maintenance of golf courses, as well as Altus™, which is designed to protect ornamental plants against insect pests. We also expanded our Maxforce™ product range by adding insecticides for pest control. Bayer BEYOND, a new digital service platform, automates the work performed by pest controllers and enhances rodent monitoring through predictive analysis.

Cooperations

Crop Science is part of a global network of partners from diverse segments of the agricultural industry and academic research. In 2017, we entered into new research partnerships and extended existing collaborations. A selection of these is detailed below.

In June 2017, Bayer signed an agreement with Sumitomo Chemical Company Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, for fungicide mixes used to control soybean diseases in Brazil. The goal of combining a new Sumitomo Chemical fungicide with established Bayer fungicides is to develop an effective solution for controlling widespread plant diseases such as soybean rust. The product registration applications were submitted in 2017 as expected.

In June 2017, Bayer also signed a two-year research agreement with the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to increase wheat yields using new mathematical models and computer simulations for more efficient photosynthesis.

As part of their research cooperation, Bayer and KWS SAAT SE, Germany, granted a long-term license to Belgian company SESVanderHave N.V. for their new CONVISO™SMART sugar beet cultivation system in June 2017. The technology is based on conventionally bred sugar beet varieties with tolerance toward certain herbicides and helps to ease weed management.

In July 2017, Bayer and the Israeli company Netafim Ltd., which is based in Tel Aviv, joined forces to enhance the application of crop protection products. The new approach, called DripByDrip, will enable farmers to water their fields and apply crop protection products in a more targeted way using Netafim’s drip irrigation technology. We expect the solution to be launched in Mexico in mid-2018.

In August 2017, Bayer and the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), a nonprofit organization supporting citrus growers in Florida, United States, signed a research collaboration agreement to find solutions to citrus greening plant disease currently threatening the global citrus production and juice industry.

In addition, Bayer and Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, United Kingdom, formed a strategic alliance in August 2017 to develop digital solutions aimed at detecting and sustainably managing pests, pathogens and weeds.

Bayer and the nonprofit organization Quantified Planet, Vaxholm, Sweden, signed a licensing and cooperation agreement in August 2017. Under the agreement, Bayer is providing proprietary, crowd-sourced data from more than 70 countries on certain plant varieties and their location, prevalence and distribution. Quantified Planet makes these data available worldwide for use in scientific research in the field of biodiversity.

Bayer and Robert Bosch GmbH, Germany, signed a three-year cooperation agreement in September 2017, with the objective of developing a smart spraying technology to make the application of crop protection products more efficient and facilitate a more targeted use of herbicides.

Bayer and the Greek Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, which forms part of the Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas (IMBB-FORTH), announced a five-year research collaboration in September 2017. This collaboration will seek to investigate insect gut physiology for the development of new insecticides.

The following table provides an overview of strategically important long-term cooperations that are currently ongoing.

Crop Science: Important Cooperations

Cooperation objective

Search for solutions to citrus greening disease, which currently threatens the global citrus production and juice industry

Increase in wheat yields by means of native plant traits – discovery, validation and integration

Use of microbes to improve soil health and thereby increase crop productivity

Cooperation on several R&D objectives in various areas of relevance for agriculture in Brazil, e.g. Asian soybean rust

Research collaboration focused on phenotyping for plant breeding, research into plant traits and the development of biologicals

Herbicide Innovation Partnership for the discovery and development of innovative weed management solutions

Joint development of new substances to control mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as malaria and dengue fever

Licensing and cooperation agreement under which Bayer will make freely available proprietary, crowd-sourced data from more than 70 countries on certain plant varieties and their location, prevalence and distribution

Research collaboration focused on developing a smart spraying technology to make the application of crop protection products more targeted and thus more efficient

Strategic framework agreement to support a digital revolution for detecting and sustainably managing biotic threats such as pests, pathogens and weeds

Development and application of systems biology approaches to achieve a better understanding of metabolic processes in plants and facilitate the development of new herbicides and safeners

You can find details of our open innovation initiatives Grants4Targets™ and Grants4Traits™ in A 1.3 “Global Open Innovation Network.”

1 We define a new plant trait as a specific characteristic that has not previously been available at Bayer for the crop plant in question.

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