Magazines Archives - 2008 May
Swiss firm in Basel to invest in biotech facility in China
SWISS agricultural firm Syngenta International AG in Basel will build a biotech research and technology centre in Beijing, China.
A company statement indicated that the centre, Syngenta Biotechnology (China) Co Ltd, will focus on the earlystage evaluation of genetically-modified and native traits of key crops, such
as corn and soya, in yield improvement, drought resistance, disease control and conversion of biomass into biofuel.
The new facility, which will have a global scope and will complement Syngentas biotech research activities in the US, entails investments of US$65 million in the first five years.
China is increasingly recognised for the scale and calibre of its biotech expertise in agriculture, said Dave Lawrence, head of R&D and a member of Syngentas executive committee.
Having our own research base in Beijing will accelerate innovation and offer powerful opportunities to work more closely with Chinese research institutes. [This] is all the more relevant now in a world that sees higher global demand for crops.
The facility will be built at Zhongguancun Life Science Park in Beijing. Until the new facilities are completed in 2010, adjacent temporary facilities will enable operations to commence from summer this year.
The biotech centre will initially employ 100 researchers and staff. This will increase to 200 when the new building opens.
Earlier this year, Syngenta acquired a 49% stake in Chinese corn-seed company Sanbei Seed Co Ltd in Hebei province. Last year, the Swiss firm entered into a five-year research collaboration
with the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) in Beijing on the development of novel agronomic traits for key crops such as corn, soya bean, wheat, sugar beet and sugar cane.