CARGILL Inc. and Branhaven LLC announced Jan. 13 a non-exclusive agreement to license Neogen Corp. their patented BeefGen genomics (DNA) tools that help beef and dairy cattle producers analyze bovine genetics to improve meat and milk production.
Specific terms of the license agreement were not disclosed.
The BeefGen patented diagnostics are based on precise molecular tools that may be used to improve beef cattle carcass quality, production efficiency and nutritional value, the announcement said.
BeefGen licensees, such as Neogen, work with cattle seedstock breeders, cattle producers (cow/calf operators), feedlot operators and dairies to improve their herds through reliable, genetics-based, scientific data that will be used for breeding, tracking and management.
For beef cattle producers, these genetic tools help identify animals best suited to optimize weight gain, beef marbling, tenderness, red meat yield, rib-eye quality and other important characteristics that maximize the value and yield from each animal harvested, the announcement said. This technology may also assist in identifying genetically superior animals for breeding purposes that, in turn, would produce high-quality calves.
Dairy cattle producers and dairies would benefit from the ability to provide critical information about superior breeding bulls, superior breeding cows and their female calves, with the goal of improved milk production efficiency, improved reproduction and better disease resistance, according to the announcement.
"Cargill is excited to enter into this license agreement with Neogen to ensure that the work started over a decade ago by Cargill and its partners is utilized in the marketplace more broadly. The technology and patents are complementary to Neogen's existing offerings in this space, and we believe Neogen will be able to effectively leverage the years of work done by Cargill and its partners," said George Kwasniak, vice president of business development for Cargill's animal protein group. "Cargill has used this technology at its feedlots, and we are confident that these tools will help the beef and dairy industries to increase productivity while reducing the resources required to produce each pound of meat and each gallon of milk."
Neogen, through its subsidiary GeneSeek, will use the licensed technology as it continues to work with cattle seedstock breeders, cow/calf operators, feedlot operators and dairy producers to improve herds through genetic-based scientific data.
"This agreement allows Neogen unencumbered access to extensive cattle genomic analytic and bioinformatic knowledge amassed by Cargill researchers and their partners," Neogen vice president of corporate development Dr. Jason Lilly said.
Neogen develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety.
The company's Food Safety Division markets dehydrated culture media and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases and sanitation concerns.
Neogen's Animal Safety Division develops animal genomics, along with the manufacturing and distribution of a variety of animal health care products, including diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, veterinary instruments, wound care and cleaners and disinfectants.
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world.
Branhaven acquired MetaMorphix Inc.'s interests in the assets resulting from the joint development effort with Cargill on this technology (pursuant to MetaMorphix's bankruptcy proceedings). Branhaven is a private holding company focused on acquiring companies with strong intellectual properties.