Evogene leading plant genomics company develops new weed control herbicides PoinTar

Evogene launches discovery platform for novel herbicides

11:53 AM, 12th February 2014
Evogene leading plant genomics company business news

REHOVOT, ISRAEL: Evogene Ltd, a leading plant genomics company specializing in enhancing crop productivity for the food, feed and biofuel industries, announced the launch of PoinTar, a computationally based target discovery platform for novel herbicides. This marks a milestone in its discovery programme for novel chemical herbicides. Targets are key molecules, responsible for essential biological processes in weeds, which have the potential to be chemically inhibited to cause weed death.

Crop losses from weeds are estimated to reach more than $100 billion annually and chemical herbicides, with a worldwide market currently estimated at $20 billion, are the dominant approach for weed control. The need for new herbicide solutions arises from the substantial and growing resistance of weeds and other invasive plants to existing chemical solutions since no new herbicide mode of action has been introduced in over twenty years.

An important feature of the new platform, in addition to the predictive discovery of potential targets, is the ability to prioritize the resulting predictions for proteins on the basis of structural information such as ‘drugability’, that is the ability of the predicted target to interact with a chemical molecule. In addition, PoinTar is able to identify non-coding RNAs as potential targets, adding a substantial new class of overlooked molecules to the discovery process. The combination of these two computationally based features is anticipated to provide a unique and effective target discovery capability.

“Our on-going herbicide discovery programme rests on our two core infrastructure assets – our extensive and proprietary computational capabilities for data integration and analysis, and our deep predictive understanding of how plants work at the genomic level. Through the use of these underlying capabilities, this programme combines relevant aspects of biology and chemistry into one integrated and complete solution designed to provide a powerful new discovery approach to one of agriculture’s most critical challenges and largest commercial opportunities,” said Ofer Haviv, President and CEO, Evogene.


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