Bayer and the agricultural biotech company Oerth Bio today announced a new collaboration seeking to develop the next generation of more sustainable crop protection products. The unique protein degradation technology used by Oerth Bio has the potential to generate products that support Bayer’s sustainability objective to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, via lower application rates and favorable safety profiles.
Oerth Bio was founded in 2019 by Bayer’s impact investment arm, Leaps by Bayer, and Arvinas (NASDAQ: ARVN), a clinical-stage biotechnology company leading the way in the development of targeted protein degradation therapeutics. Initially developed to fight human diseases like cancer and other difficult to treat diseases, Oerth’s patented PROTAC (PROteolysis TArgeting Chimera) protein degradation technology provides an innovative pathway to entirely novel crop protection and climate resilient farm solutions. Oerth Bio remains the first and only company researching agricultural PROTAC solutions.
“The world’s farmers need dependable and sustainable solutions to crop protection challenges, and PROTAC protein degradation technologies show an increasingly promising path toward a new way to develop tailored technologies,” said Dr. Robert Reiter, Head of R&D at Bayer’s Crop Science Division. “We expect protein degradation technology, already used in medicine, to be an important cornerstone for the development of new crop protection products that reduce the impact on the environment significantly. Oerth Bio’s work has proven to be promising, and we are looking forward to what the next phase of our work together will bring.”
Oerth Bio’s targeted protein degraders offer the capacity for high-precision product development, low application rates, and paths to overcome biological resistance. Oerth molecules are designed to interact with only one target protein, and safeguard off- target/beneficial organisms. These attributes combine to offer a very attractive pathway for the development of novel crop protection products that are sustainable, and highly effective. PROTAC molecules activate a specific naturally occurring process within target species. The impact is expected to be precise and limited to interrupting the specific targeted processes in weeds, diseases or insects that impact crops negatively.
“This collaboration further emboldens our ambitions for first-in-the-world farm centric protein degrader solutions,” said John Dombrosky, Oerth Bio CEO. “It’s a real tribute to Bayer’s leadership and vision, as they significantly invest in breakthroughs that could change farming and the world for the better.”
Oerth Bio is simultaneously developing several novel agricultural applications in nascent crop efficiency and plant resilience segments, ensuring PROTAC technology can be utilized to its full potential, and provide maximum utility to farmers and the greater food system.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and the planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to driving sustainable development and generating a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2021, the Group employed around 100,000 people and had sales of 44.1 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
About Oerth Bio
Oerth Bio’s protein degrader technology for agriculture aims to combine powerful efficacy with next-generation environmental sustainability. The technology is designed to deliver unparalleled safety of food and feed, while achieving superior field performance for farmers.
The core technological innovations driving Oerth Bio’s progress are:
PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras (PROTAC) compounds are biologically enabled molecules designed to induce the modulation of specific proteins via the ubiquitin- proteasome system. Each region of the PROTAC molecule plays a role in its specificity and potency.
Attune is Oerth Bio’s proprietary R&D platform for developing PROTAC molecules for agriculture. Through a rational target-based design process, the platform creates and optimizes molecules for specific crop applications and outcomes.
PROTAC is a registered trademark of Arvinas Operations, Inc., and is used under license.
About Leaps by Bayer
Leaps by Bayer, a unit of Bayer AG, leads impact investments into solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges in health and agriculture. The investment portfolio includes more than 50 companies. They are all working on potentially breakthrough technologies to overcome some specific challenges such as, e.g. develop sustainable protein supply, reducing the environmental impact of agriculture, preventing or curing cancer, and others. For more information, go to leaps.bayer.com.