Ceres, Inc., an agricultural biotechnology company, sells seeds to produce energy crops – renewable bioenergy feedstocks that can enable the large-scale replacement of petroleum and other fossil fuels. The company markets sweet sorghum hybrids that can be used as a ‘drop-in’ feedstock to complement existing feedstock supplies and extend the operating season of Brazilian sugarcane-to-ethanol mills. Its energy crops can also be used for the production of second-generation biofuels and bio-based chemicals, including cellulosic ethanol, butanol, jet fuel, diesel-like molecules and gasoline-like molecules, from non-food biomass. Product Lines and Product Pipeline Sweet Sorghum: The company’s sweet sorghum product line consists of improved, proprietary seed varieties and hybrids developed through conventional and marker-assisted breeding. High Biomass Sorghum: The company’s high biomass sorghum product line consists of improved hybrids developed through conventional and marker-assisted breeding. The company is in the process of developing hybrids that offer additional increases in biomass. Switchgrass: In its development pipeline, the company has switchgrass varieties that can offer additional increases in biomass, including the first hybrid switchgrass developed for bioenergy. Miscanthus: Through its collaboration with the Institute of Biological, Environmental, and Rural Sciences of Aberystwyth University in Wales, U.K., or IBERS, and the Sustainable Bioenergy Centre of the U.K.’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC,) the company is in the process of developing seed-propagated varieties that have the same high-yielding attributes of comparable vegetatively propagated miscanthus hybrids. Sales and Marketing The company markets its seed varieties and traits under the trade name Blade Energy Crops. It sells and distributes seed products directly to customers, which include ethanol mills, utilities, independent power producers, cellulosic biofuel companies, individual growers and grower cooperatives. The company also works with technology providers and other industry participants, such as equipment manufacturers, enzyme or fermentation technology companies, to encourage the use of its products. Research and Development Programs As of August 31, 2013, the company spent $16.4 million on research and development, with the main emphasis on breeding and traits. Strategy Main elements of the company’s business strategy include the following: expanding its presence in Brazil; collaborating with companies to develop the market for cellulosic biofuels; expanding its business into new markets; building new relationships and enhancing established collaborations in the global biopower market; continuing innovation and new product development; pursuing additional outlets for the company’s technology and genes; and continuing to build its intellectual property portfolio. Intellectual Property As of November 15, 2013, the company owned or had exclusive licensed rights to approximately 85 issued patents and approximately 120 pending patent applications in the United States and in various foreign jurisdictions. The patents for Ceres-developed inventions are set to expire beginning in 2020. The company’s patents or patent applications generally relate to compositions of matter for DNA and protein sequences, plants and plant parts, methods of improving plants and seed products. In addition, the company holds various applications for patents, Plant Variety Protection certificates and plant breeders’ rights for its commercial varieties, hybrids and inbreds, as well as for methods for the improvement, propagation, production, and use of dedicated energy crops. The company’s registered and pending trademarks in the United States and in selected foreign countries include Ceres, The Energy Crop Company, Blade Energy Crops, Blade and Skyscraper. Collaborations Monsanto Company: In 2002, the company entered into a multi-year discovery and development collaboration with Monsanto Company focused on applying genomics technologies to identify genes that provide improvements in corn, soybean and certain other row crops. Pursuant to this agreement, Monsanto Company licensed rights to a portion of its trait discovery pipeline in certain row crops in exchange for license payments over several years. Monsanto Company also funded a research program with the company, which was completed in 2007. The term of this agreement continues for the life of the last patent licensed pursuant to the agreement. Customers As of August 31, 2013, the company’s major customers included Syngenta, ARPA-E, USAID and Campbell Soup Company. Regulations Under the Plant Protection Act of 2000, regulatory approval is required before the introduction, including the environmental release, interstate movement, and importation, of certain genetically engineered organisms, including many of its biotechnology products. The primary U.S. regulatory agency overseeing field testing and deregulation for commercialization of the company’s biotechnology products is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In Brazil, the approval of biotechnology products is regulated by the National Technical Commission of Biosafety, Comissão Técnica Nacional de Biossegurança, or CTNBio, under the Ministry of Science and Technology. The European Union, or EU, has established a legal framework for activities involving what it describes as ‘genetically modified organisms,’ or GMOs, and some of the company’s biotechnology products would fall within the scope of this legislation. History Ceres, Inc. was founded in 1996. The company was incorporated in Delaware in 1996.
ceres inc (CERE:NASDAQ GM)
1535 Rancho Conejo Boulevard
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
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