Monsanto to Invest in Gene Researcher
Monsanto Co. plans to invest $17.2 million in GeneTrace Systems Inc., a closely held gene research company, to speed Monsanto’s development of genetically enhanced crops. The agreement gives Monsanto exclusive license to technologies that probe the genetic structure, or genome, of plants and animals. Monsanto initially plans to apply Menlo Park-based GeneTrace’s method of determining a species’ genetic makeup to crops such as corn and soybeans. The alliance comes as St. Louis-based Monsanto continues to shift focus from its chemical business to agricultural biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and nutrition. Monsanto has spent more than $2 billion in the last three years to buy seed and biotechnology companies. Genetically engineered crops could generate as much as $20 billion in revenue by 2010, according to analysts. Monsanto’s shares rose 88 cents to close at $52.88 on the New York Stock Exchange.