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Cibus Opens Dedicated, High-throughput Gene Editing Facility for Trait Production

  • The Facility represents the first semi-automated gene editing trait production system that provides a time-bound, predictable and reproducible breeding system for the editing of commercial plants.
  • The Facility’s Trait MachineTM process edits directly into a customers’ elite germplasm, increasing speed and scale of trait development & commercialization.
  • The Facility provides Cibus the gene editing production capacity to support the commercial launch of its first three developed traits across canola, winter oilseed rape, and rice.

SAN DIEGO, July 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cibus, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBUS), a leading agricultural technology company that develops and licenses plant traits to seed companies for royalties, announced the opening of its Oberlin facility in San Diego with its first Production Run. The 32,000 square foot Oberlin facility, powered by Cibus’ proprietary Trait Machine™ process, is the first high-throughput trait production system for plants. The completion of this facility is an important step in Cibus’ vision of the Future of Breeding that integrates High Throughput Gene Editing Systems as extensions of seed company breeding programs. With the Trait Machine process, Cibus is able to fundamentally change the way seed companies bring new traits into their advanced product pipelines and significantly accelerate the pace at which new trait innovation is delivered to the farmers.

“The Cibus Trait Machine process changes how agricultural trait products are commercialized using proprietary breeding technologies. It allows customers to select their most appropriate elite germplasm to be edited by Cibus. Cibus, in turn, returns to its customers seeds which contain the edits and can be used immediately in the advanced stage of their customer’s breeding program,” said Peter Beetham, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cibus. Beetham added: “This is the ‘Future of Breeding’ and why the Trait Machine and Oberlin facility are so important. We are enabling a new scale and speed for farmers to access new traits that will help them produce higher yields at lower costs, in a more sustainable way to address the challenges of climate change.”

The Trait Machine process employed at the Oberlin facility integrates crop specific RTDS® cell biology platforms with a series of gene editing technologies to enable a system of end-to-end crop specific precision breeding. Oberlin is currently operational for canola, winter oilseed rape, and rice. The company is dedicated to also establish cell biology platforms for soybean, wheat, and corn within the foreseeable future – the work on soybean is most advanced. Cibus has developed traits for both canola and winter oilseed rape, and in 2023, began transferring back to customers their elite germplasm with Cibus traits. The high-throughput capacity provided by the Oberlin production facility is important to enable Cibus to meet the demand from its seed company customers for its proprietary traits and for the development of future traits.

“The opening and commissioning of Oberlin, provides Cibus the needed production capacity to support the commercial launch of our developed traits in canola, winter oilseed rape, and rice,” said Andrew Walker, Cibus’ Vice President Production. “We are already initiating gene editing production runs directly in the elite germplasm of eleven different seed companies who have provided Cibus the materials to edit our traits directly into their elite lines. This type of gene editing production system allows our customers to bypass the conventional trait introgression breeding approach which can be time consuming, labor intensive, and less precise.”

“With Oberlin now fully operational, we are just scratching the surface on the potential of high-throughput gene-editing. This is the start of a new era. Our expectation is that it will be the model for how gene-editing-as-a-service is accessed by seed companies going forward, with the ultimate goal of providing innovation that delivers benefits directly to the farmers.” added Greg Gocal, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Cibus. “In addition, as this facility increases the scale and throughput of our gene-editing processes, it also allows us to more rapidly test and prototype new trait concepts, building on the success of our advanced commercial-ready traits.”

About the Trait Machine™
A key element of Cibus’ technology breakthrough is its Trait Machine process. The Trait Machine process is a crop specific application of Cibus’ 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. Each Trait Machine process requires a crop specific cell biology platform that enables Cibus to edit a single cell from a customers’ elite germplasm and grow that edited cell into a plant with the Cibus edits. Cibus has Trait Machine processes developed for canola, winter oilseed rape, and rice and has already begun transferring back to customers their elite germplasm with Cibus edits in both canola and rice.

The traits from the Trait Machine process 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 its pod shatter reduction trait and Sclerotinia resistant traits for canola and winter oilseed rape would be considered ‘Conventional-like'.

Cibus believes that RTDS and the Trait Machine process 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 technological 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 merger, Cibus’ operational and financial 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 to pay taxes and cover Cibus’ corporate and overhead expenses; (xiii) regulatory developments that disfavor 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.


Karen Troeber 

Ted Lowen

Colin Sanford

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