Neogen licenses Cargill genomics patents

Non-exclusive agreement gives Neogen tools to help improve cattle production and quality.

Cargill Inc. and Branhaven LLC today announced 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. BeefGen licensees, such as Neogen, will work with cattle feedstock 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. This technology may also assist in identifying genetically superior animals for breeding purposes, which in turn would produce high quality calves.

Dairy cattle producers and dairies 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.

“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 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 GeneSeek subsidiary, will use the licensed technology as it continues to work with cattle seed stock breeders, cow/calf operators, feedlot operators, and dairy producers to improve their herds through genetic-based scientific data that will be used for selection of future animal generations.

 “This agreement allows Neogen unencumbered access to extensive cattle genomic analytic and bioinformatic knowledge amassed by Cargill researchers and their partners,” said Dr. Jason Lilly, Neogen's vice president of corporate development. “This access to the intellectual property developed by one of the world's largest protein producers through years of research should significantly add to our efforts to continue providing the most useful and innovative animal genomic tools for worldwide cattle producers.”

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