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Cibus Welcomes European Commission Proposal on Regulation of Plants Obtained from New Genomic Techniques

  • Proposal aims to adapt EU legislation to scientific and technological progress, enabling the products of New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) to contribute to more sustainable agriculture, climate resilience, and food security
  • Proposed regulation identifies a ‘Conventional-like’ category of NGT products that would be regulated as conventional varieties, bringing EU policy closer to that of trading partners in North and South America, Australia, and Japan
  • Under the proposal, products from Cibus’ gene editing platform such as canola and oilseed rape resistant to disease or with reduced seed losses would be considered ‘Conventional-like'

SAN DIEGO, July 05, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cibus, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBUS), a leading agricultural technology company that develops and licenses plant traits to seed companies, welcomed the European Commission proposal on the regulation of plants obtained from New Genomic Techniques (NGTs). The proposal was adopted by the EU College of Commissioners at their meeting on July 5th and will now proceed to review in the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

The proposal is a result of a European Commission study, requested by EU Member States, which concluded that EU GMO legislation was not fit for purpose in relation to applications of NGTs in plants. NGTs include a variety of gene editing techniques leading to genetic changes classed as targeted mutagenesis and cisgenesis.

The proposal describes a category of NGTs producing modifications that could be obtained in nature or by conventional breeding. These are determined to be ‘Conventional-like’ and would be regulated in the same way as conventional varieties.

The Commission identified NGTs as tools that could contribute to greater food security and to the reduction of use and risk of pesticides set out in the EU Green Deal’s Farm to Fork strategy.

“The proposal is an important milestone with consequences beyond improved international policy alignment,” said Tony Moran, Cibus Senior Vice President of International Development and Government Affairs. “The long-awaited legislative change would create a very welcome stimulus for plant science innovation, especially in academia and small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), which in turn would boost the contribution of NGTs to a sustainable EU agri-food system.”

Using its RTDS® technology platform, Cibus is developing Conventional-like traits in canola and oilseed rape that could contribute to these goals. Cibus is proud to be partnering with European oilseed rape breeders and using RTDS to develop varieties that can reduce seed losses due to pod shatter and increase resistance to diseases. Within its disease resistance efforts, Cibus is developing traits intended to provide durable resistance to diseases including Sclerotinia White Mold.

“They are great examples of the potential of gene editing,” said Carlo Broos, Vice President, Business Development at Cibus. “Our traits for Pod Shatter Reduction and disease resistance are intended to help growers reduce inputs, reduce costs and protect yields. By doing so, Cibus is addressing the key elements for the sustainability and profitability of farming.”

About RTDS

A key element of Cibus’ technology breakthrough is its patented Rapid Trait Development System™ (RTDS®). The proprietary technologies in RTDS integrate crop specific cell biology platforms with a series of gene editing technologies to enable a system of end-to-end crop specific precision breeding. It is the core technology platform for Cibus’ Trait Machine™: the first standardized end-to-end semi-automated crop specific gene editing system that directly edits a seed company’s elite germplasm. The traits from the Trait Machine are indistinguishable from traits developed using conventional breeding or from nature. Under the European Commission proposal, products from Cibus’ RTDS gene editing platform such as canola and oilseed rape resistant to disease or with reduced seed losses would be considered ‘Conventional-like'.

Cibus believes that RTDS and the Trait Machine represent the technological breakthrough in plant breeding that is the ultimate promise of plant gene editing: “High Throughput Gene Editing Systems operating as an extension of seed company breeding programs”. The technology moment that materially changes the speed, breadth, and scale of trait development.

About Cibus

Cibus is part of the multi-billion-dollar plant seed industry. Cibus is the leader in the new era of high throughput gene editing technology that can develop plant traits precisely and predictably at a fraction of the time and cost of conventional breeding. Cibus is not a seed company. It is a technology company that develops and licenses traits to seed companies in exchange for royalties on seed sales. Cibus’ target market is Productivity Traits that improve yields, lower input costs such as chemicals, and increases the sustainability and profitability of farming. It has a pipeline of six productivity traits including important traits for pod shatter reduction, disease resistance, and nutrient use efficiency. Cibus’ focus is scale, multi-crop traits that can impact greater than 100 MM acres.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of present or historical fact included herein, including statements regarding the benefits of the Act, Cibus’ operational performance, and Cibus’ strategy, future operations, prospects and plans, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend”, “expect,” “plan,” “scheduled,” “could,” “would” and “will,” or the negative of these and similar expressions.

These forward-looking statements are based on the current expectations and assumptions of Cibus’ management about future events, which are based on currently available information. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and beyond the control of Cibus. There are many factors that could cause Cibus’ actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements, including factors related to: (i) risks associated with the possible failure to realize certain anticipated benefits of the transactions contemplated by the merger (the “Transactions”), including with respect to future financial and operating results; (ii) the effect of the completion of the Transactions on Cibus’ business relationships, operating results and business generally; (iii) the outcome of any litigation related to the merger agreement or Transactions; (iv) competitive responses to the Transactions and changes in expected or existing competition; (v) challenges to Cibus’ intellectual property protection and unexpected costs associated with defending Cibus’ intellectual property rights; (vi) increased or unanticipated time and resources required for Cibus’ platform or trait product development efforts; (vii) Cibus’ reliance on third parties in connection with its development activities; (viii) Cibus’ ability to effectively license its productivity traits and sustainable ingredient products; (ix) the recognition of value in Cibus’ products by farmers, and the ability of farmers and processors to work effectively with crops containing Cibus’ traits; (x) Cibus’ ability to produce high-quality plants and seeds cost effectively on a large scale; (xi) Cibus’ need for additional funding to finance its activities and challenges in obtaining additional capital on acceptable terms, or at all; (xii) Cibus’ dependence on distributions from Cibus Global, LLC to pay taxes and cover Cibus’ corporate and overhead expenses; (xiii) regulatory developments that disfavour or impose significant burdens on gene-editing processes or products; (xiv) Cibus’ ability to achieve commercial success; (xv) commodity prices and other market risks facing the agricultural sector; and (xvi) technological developments that could render Cibus’ technologies obsolete. In addition to these factors, other known and unknown risks and uncertainties may adversely affect such forward-looking statements and cause Cibus’ actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties occur, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results and plans could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent Cibus’ views as of the date hereof. Cibus specifically disclaims any obligation to update such forward-looking statements in the future, except as required under applicable law. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Cibus’ views as of any date subsequent to the date hereof.

CIBUS CONTACTS:

INVESTOR RELATIONS
Karen Troeber
ktroeber@cibus.com
858-450-2636

MEDIA RELATIONS
Theodore Lowen
tlowen@cibus.com
914-343-6794

Colin Sanford
colin@bioscribe.com
203-918-4347