Expatica news

Swiss company opens multimillion-dollar research centre in China

17 April 2008

BASEL – Swiss-based international seed and pesticide firm Syngenta said Thursday it plans to open a multimillion-dollar research and technology centre for the development of genetically modified (GM) crops in Beijing.

The company said it would invest around USD 65 million in the first five years of the project.

The new facility would complement its US centres, it said.

It would concentrate on early-stage evaluation of GM for key crops such as corn and soy to improve yield, drought resistance, disease control and biomass conversion for biofuels, the company said in a statement.

"China is increasingly recognised for the scale and calibre of its biotech expertise in agriculture," the head of research and development at Syngenta, Dave Lawrence, said.

"Having our own research base in Beijing will accelerate innovation and offer powerful opportunities to work more closely with Chinese research institutes, which is all the more relevant now in a world that sees higher global demand for crops," he said.

The new centre, Syngenta Biotechnology (China) Co Ltd, will be built at Zhongguancun Life Science Park in Beijing by 2010, employing 100 researchers and staff initially, increasing to 200 within two years.

Operations would start from summer 2008 in temporary facilities nearby.

The company said it was expanding its activities in China.

Earlier this month, Syngenta completed a deal giving it a 49-percent stake in the leading Chinese corn seeds company Sanbei Seed Co Ltd in Hebei province.

In 2007, Syngenta entered into a five-year research collaboration with the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) in Beijing, working on the development of strains of key crops such as corn, soybean, wheat, sugar beet and sugar cane.  

[dpa / Expatica]