BASF slashes plant biotech research

Article by Staff Writer

BASF is cutting half of its 700 plant biotechnology staff and reducing the size of its research sites in a major restructuring of its Plant Science unit.

Around 180 positions will be lost in Europe, with 140 to go across North America. Field testing sites in India, Puerto Rico and Hawaii will close. Further  field testing and research sites in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and Iowa in the US, as well as in Berlin and Limburgerhof in Germany, will be reduced in size.

BASF is cutting back those areas of research that would require the greatest investment in terms of time and money. As a result, it will discontinue research into rice yield and corn fungal resistance, and trim back discovery and early development projects  in yield and stress in maize and soybeans. The company will continue its research into polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids in canola seeds and its work on herbicide tolerance and fungal resistance in soybeans. Its collaboration with Monsanto into yield and stress in maize and soybean will be unaffected.

“We will discontinue projects with extremely high technical challenges, which would require significant time and financial investment,” said BASF bioscience research director Harald Schwager.

The German company says the restructuring is part of its “regular portfolio review” and will allow it to focus on projects with the best potential for success, technically and commercially.

The restructuring is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

Article by Staff Writer

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