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Abugen's seeds division won the EU grant, in the amount of 1.2 million euros

The grant was given to the company for the purpose of developing agricultural crops with high oil seeds, increased absorption of carbon dioxide and drought resistance * The grant is within the EU Horizon program of the European Union, and was approved following the successful POC from the previous program launched in 2016

Menchal Abujan Ofer Habib. Photo: Magma Photo
Menchal Abujan Ofer Habib. Photo: Magma Photo

The seeds division of Evogen (NASDAQ: EVGN, Tel Aviv: EVGN), a leading computational biology company that aims to revolutionize the discovery and development of life science products in multiple markets, announced today that it has won the prestigious EU Horizon program grant of the European Union in the amount 1.2 million euros, to finance the development of agricultural crops with seeds with high oil content, high carbon dioxide absorption and increased resistance to drought conditions. The grant was approved following the completion of a successful proof of feasibility in 2021 by the FutureAgriculture association, indicating the commercial potential of increasing agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.

The purpose of the program is to develop canola and safflower plant seeds, which have the ability to absorb 60% more carbon dioxide from the air, while consuming 20% ​​less water compared to crops with standard growing methods. The goal is to promote ecological goals of environmental quality and sustainability, to reduce global warming through the use of plants with a higher absorption of the accumulation of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In addition, the program will allow saving water resources and improving the plants' tolerance to drought conditions. There is significant commercial value to such crops for the food, animal feed and sustainable energy industries. This development is significant and is a unique proposition in today's market, for the production of high-energy seeds with a high oil content, at the same time as a low carbon footprint and strong sustainability characteristics.

This development is, as mentioned, a follow-up to a successful proof of feasibility completed in 2021, as part of the FutureAgriculture consortium that is also funded by the European Union's Horizon program, which showed results of increased absorption of carbon dioxide by plants, combined with increased resistance to drought. These positive results led the Horizon 2020 reviewers to recommend the Continue funding the development of the project as a significant step to reduce climate change.

The European Union's Horizon program is part of the prestigious EIC 2022 program, which aims to establish business entities to deal with climate challenges and develop durable and environmentally sustainable agricultural crops that can better cope with climate change. The total budget within the program is 2.5 million euros for an estimated time of 32 months. The €1.2 million grant to be awarded to Abugen will cover the company's estimated costs for participating in this program.

Other partners in this project include the Max Planck Society, a leading research institute from Germany, IN Society, a non-profit organization from Italy that analyzes the impact of technological developments on society, and the Agrobio Institute, an academic agricultural institution from Bulgaria. The program leverages the innovative synthetic biology technologies of Avogen's seed division and its partners while integrating multidisciplinary skills in computational biology, chemistry, microbiology and plant physiology.

The Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology conducts research on the molecular functions of environmental microorganisms and their potential use for synthetic biology. Professor Dr. Tobias Erb, director of the Department of Biochemistry and Synthetic Metabolism b Max Planck Society: “Our research into basic design principles of microbial metabolism has allowed us to engineer improved carbon dioxide uptake mechanisms. The joint project with Evogen is an important part of our efforts to create a sustainable future using synthetic biology. By engineering new metabolic pathways, we aim to enable plants to better utilize energy resources, thereby saving fertilizer and water and reducing carbon dioxide emissions in agriculture."

Laura Martinelli, CEO INsociety: "Crop4Clim is a perfect example of science being translated into socially relevant innovation, as it will enable agriculture to deal with the changing demands of climate change. Since its inception, we have supported this promising innovation as part of the FutureAgriculture project. We are happy to take part in the success of the project by carrying out the environmental and economic assessment of the technology and lead its adoption by stakeholders".

Eyal Ronan, VP of Business Development at Abujan: "We are proud to lead the development of crops with high oil seeds with unique characteristics that support sustainability goals. The proof of feasibility is further validated by our association and winning its prestigious grant. The goal is sustainable agriculture. We are also excited about the partnership with the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, which is a global scientific leader in the field of environmental and synthetic biology. This win reflects our expertise in computational and synthetic biology and our ability to develop innovative products."

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