Performance Plants Marks Opening of Kingston Facility by Announcing New Patents for Its Breakthrough Crop Drought Protection Technology

Kingston, ON, Sept. 11, 2007 – Canada’s leading agricultural biotechnology company, Performance Plants Inc. (PPI), marked the opening of its new multi-million dollar laboratory and corporate office in Kingston, Ontario today by announcing that it has secured Canadian and US patent protection for its proprietary crop drought protection - Yield Protection Technology™ (YPT™).

These patents combined with others, effectively provide the company global intellectual property protection for YPT™.

“Biotechnology is the best solution to some very large human problems such as water shortages, climate change and increased population,” said Dr. David Dennis, President and Chief Executive Officer. “What we are doing at our new laboratory facilities in Kingston and at our lab in Saskatoon will put Canada and Performance Plants in the forefront of developing a secure food supply for the world.”

The move from its founding space at Queen’s University was much needed according to PPI Chief Operating Officer, Peter Matthewman. “We’re delighted that we were able to find here in Kingston the facility we need to support our growth globally. This new lab and corporate headquarters gives us the foundation we require to grow our agri-technology business in the international market. The Canadian and US patent protection we are announcing today is an indication of the extraordinary potential for our technology in the world’s most significant agricultural markets.”

YPT™ works by genetically enabling plants such as canola, corn and soybeans to turn off and on their own, naturally built-in, defences against drought at much earlier stages. As a result, YPT™ enables plants to increase yield by 15% - 25%, depending on the plant species. This is dramatically greater yield enhancement than any competing biotechnology currently available.

YPT™ enhances solely innate genes within not just each plant species but within each separate variety in each species. It works, in addition to standard genetic “on/off switches,” to enable the plant in drought conditions to close the stomata by which it loses life-sustaining moisture.

For dryland farming areas such as the Canadian and US mid-west, parts of Europe, Australia and Africa, inconsistent water supply has a devastating impact on food crops and food supply. Drought kills crops. But YPT™ resists drought because YPT™- enabled crops keep water longer, boosting yield and substantively reducing irrigation cost. With YPT™-enhanced seeds, farmers will be able to grow much more on their existing acreage with less water use and the accompanying cost. YPT™ also works perfectly in combination with other prevailing genetic enhancements in crops such as herbicide and pest resistance.

PPI licenses its breakthrough gene technology to several of the world’s leading seed and agri-companies, which, combined, control almost half of North America’s seed market. Today that market is worth $5 billion annually and grows at about 15% a year. YPT™ enhanced crops will be in farmer’s fields beginning in 2011.

According to Jeff Garrah, Chief Executive Officer of KEDCO, expanding the city’s knowledge-based economy is a key strategic goal for the agency. “We applaud the accomplishments of Performance Plants. It is a sterling example of successful commercialization of technology that originated in our own backyard,” said Garrah.

YPT™ is the first of a wave of related, combinable (or ‘stackable’), genetic crop enhancements from Performance Plants. The company is in the process of acquiring patent protection for:

  • Water Efficiency Technology (WET™), which improves by as much as 25% the efficacy with which plants utilize available water.
  • Heat and Drought Stress Technology (HDT™) that stabilizes yield under high heat conditions (corn and soybeans, for example, lose as much as 15% yield for every degree Celsius over 30° during the critical flowering stage)

The same technologies and Performance Plants’ proprietary Bio-mass Enhancing Technology (BET™) have revolutionary implications for bio-fuels production. The company is currently exploring potential partnerships in the North American bio-fuels market.

Performance Plants also has a research facility at Saskatoon’s Innovation Place.