Arcadia Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:RKDA) told investors Tuesday that Verdeca, its joint venture with Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp (NYSEAmerican:BIOX), has introduced soybean varieties carrying the drought-tolerant HB4 trait for the first time to growers in Argentina.
The pre-commercial soybeans – which are resistant to droughts - were showcased at Argentina’s largest farm show, Expoagro, which was held March 12 to 15, in San Nicolas, Argentina.
The HB4 trait marks Verdeca’s first release from its pipeline of yield and quality traits. The result of years of research, HB4 soybean varieties reduce yield loss when crops face droughts.
In response, investors sent Arcadia shares up almost 1% to $7.00 in afternoon trade Tuesday.
In a statement, Raj Ketkar, CEO of Arcadia Biosciences, noted that Arcadia and Verdeca are preparing for the commercial launch of HB4 this year, pending regulatory approval in China.
“Farmers have responded favorably to the pre-commercial introduction of our HB4 technology, reinforcing the market demand and potential for climate resilient crops,” said Ketkar.
On top of drought tolerance, HB4 soybeans also offer resistance to glufosinate, a herbicide used to control a wide range of weeds.
More than 1,200 attendees at Expoagro toured the Verdeca pavilion and field plots to see the HB4 soybeans on display. Growers visiting the Verdeca pavilion at the farm show were also able to sign up for a Verdeca program, which allows them to test HB4 soybean varieties in their fields.
Arcadia and Bioceres set up Verdeca in 2012 to develop and mass produce soybean traits, starting in South America and North America, where most soybeans are harvested.
Verdeca’s HB4 trait has already been approved in Argentina and by the US Food and Drug Administration. Regulatory submissions for the trait are still being considered by the US Department of Agriculture and in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and China.
Based in Davis, California, Arcadia develops high-value food ingredients and nutritional oils that aim to meet the demand for healthier diets.
The company recently set up a unit, Arcadia Specialty Genomics, to focus on the genetic improvement of cannabis and hemp.
Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected]
-- This story is updated to reflect latest share price movement --