Nova Synthetix and Precision BioSciences Announce Collaboration

Collaboration to Develop Non-GM, Ricin-Free Castor with Customizable Oil Content

Plants to be developed using DNE technology and novel transformation system

(March 12, 2014) — Nova Synthetix and Precision BioSciences, Inc., today announced that they have initiated a joint research effort to generate non-GM, ricin-free castor plants using Precision’s Directed Nuclease Editor (DNE) technology in combination with Nova Synthetix’s proprietary plant transformation system. Scientists at Nova Synthetix and Precision also plan to utilize their joint capabilities to generate improved castor variants capable of producing user defined oil profiles for industrial, biofuel, and feed-directed applications. The companies believe that the successful development of this multi-year research effort will address a significant agricultural need and result in a castor plant that is safer and has far greater market utility.

The need to replace petroleum-derived materials with sustainable, non-polluting alternatives is driving the 2.1 mm Mt/$4B biobased polymers market. Castor oil is used in many applications, including biobased nylons, a 0.2 mm Mt market growing at >25%/Yr. Nova Synthetix has developed a non-GM strategy to eliminate castor seed toxin (ricin) gene expression enabling the expansion of castor cultivation and improving castor-derived feedstocks availability. Ricin-free castor will also serve as a platform for "designer" oils for new biobased materials.

“We are excited to be working in collaboration with the Nova Synthetix team to take on this important agricultural challenge,” said Precision BioSciences CEO Matthew Kane. “We look forward to helping in the creation of a safer castor product.”

According to Nova Synthetix' President Don Walters, "This effort presents the opportunity to combine both companies' technology to create crop varieties with superior genetics for all sorts of industrial and food applications."

About Precision BioSciences

Precision BioSciences’ mission is to continually provide, improve, and enable the world’s most powerful genome engineering technology. Precision’s proprietary Directed Nuclease EditorTM (DNE) technology enables the production of genome editing enzymes that can insert, remove, modify, and regulate essentially any gene in mammalian or plant cells.

Precision BioSciences’ vision is to be the conduit through which the world’s greatest genome engineering challenges are solved. Precision has successfully utilized its DNE technology to create innovative products in partnerships with many of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical and agbiotech firms. Internally, Precision is developing DNE-based product leads for agricultural, biologics manufacturing and human therapeutic applications. For additional information, please visit

About Nova Synthetix

Nova Synthetix is developing non-GM approaches towards genome editing for crop improvement applications. While Nova Synthetix is targeting ricin-free castor as an initial product our approach could also serve as a platform for other non-GM product opportunities across multiple crops. For additional information, please visit