Inauguration of KingAgroot Innovation Center for new herbicide compound creation, crop genome-editing and chemical software development

KingAgroot  清原农冠   Jan.19, 2021

Research and Development (R&D) is the engine of growth and development of KingAgroot. With the intensification of our new chemical compound creation and screening program, and accelerated development of crop genome editing, a higher requirement of R&D facilities at KingAgrootis needed. The construction of the KingAgroot Innovation Center was officially completed and was put into service on the New Year’s Day, 2021, after two years of preparation and more than a year of intensive construction. The center is located at the Sino-German Eco-park, Huangdao District, Qingdao, China, with a total investment of more than 400 million RBM Yuan. The official opening of the innovation center was not just an important milestone in the history of KingAgroot, but also a major event in the whole agrochemical industry. KingAgroot uses this headquarter to accelerate research and development of novel chemical herbicides and high-quality trait crops for global applications.

KingAgroot Innovation Center campus, consisting of three main buildings, Science Building, Truth-Seeking Building and Exploration Building, covers an area of 100 Mu (6.6 hectares) with a total floor area of 64,000 square meters, including a 10,000 square meters intelligent greenhouse, which can accommodate more than 1,000 R&D personnel.

Bird-eye-view of the KingAgroot Innovation Center

Entrance of the Kingagroot Innovation Center

Science Building

Grand Hall of the Science Building

Patent Wall

Exhibition Room

Truth-Seeking Building

Intellectual Greenhouse (10,000 square meters)

Exploration Building

Academic Meeting Hall

KingAgroot has developed three global leading R & D platforms:
1.Herbicidal Compound Innovation Platform

KingAgroot has built a comprehensive chemical herbicide products R&D pipeline that consists of the teams for design and synthesis of compounds, weeds bioassay and herbicide-resistance monitoring and underlying mechanism study, formulation development, and a high-standard GLP laboratory for regulatory studies of metabolism of carbon-14 labelled herbicidal chemicals in selected representative animals, plants and environment. After 10 years of tremendous efforts, the company has successfully developed and commercialized four globally patented herbicides - cypyrafluone, bipyrazone, fenpyrazone and tripyrasulfone. In the next few years, other six new patented compounds are expected to be introduced to market, including Fucaoding (KAI-161452), Fulvancaozhi (KAI-141012), Fufengcaoan (KAI-151162) and Lvfumidingzhi (KAI-153915). By then, KingAgroot could become the company that has the most valid patented herbicides on sale in the world.

2.Crop Genome-editing Platform

Seed is the “chip” of agriculture and the basis of crop quality and yield. Seed industry has experienced three major technology-revolutionary development phases: hybrid-vigor utilization, transgenic and genome edited crop breeding. Hybrid maize has enabled the DuPont Pioneer company (now part of Corteva) in America and hybrid rice has also enabled Longping High Tech company in China. Glyphosate-resistant maize and soybean, the landmark achievement of transgenic crop breeding technology, have made Monsanto (acquired by Bayer) the No.1 seed company in the world in a short period of time. CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing technology emerged in 2012, which is regarded as the beginning of the third crop breeding technology revolution. KingAgroot is expected to utilize its own patented herbicide compounds as a “SPEAR” and the herbicide-resistant seeds as a crop protection “SHIELD”, to solve global crop field weed problems more comprehensively. We develop herbicide-resistance crops that are stacked with disease and/or insect resistance, high quality and yield traits, and we are determined to re-shape agriculture in the 21st century through herbicide and seed innovation.

3.Chemical Software Information Platform

KingDraw, a chemical compound design software developed by KingAgroot’s IT team, is the world's first chemical compound structure editing APP, which can be used at either mobile phone, PC,tablet PC or cloud service. The first version of KingDrawwas publically released at the end of 2018. To date, more versions have been lunched and more than 600,000 users in 153 countries around the world have been using them. The database contains 150 million pieces of chemical information. In the near future, KingDraw will continue to integrate the functions of ELN, SciFinder, synthetic route-oriented artificial intelligence prediction, etc. to accelerate chemical R&D and thus improve the R&D efficiency of global drug and material innovation.

KingDraw---Chemist’s workstation

KingAgroot’s continuous R&D investment has produced fruitful results. By December 2020, KingAgroot has filed 175 invention patents in China and 48 of them have been granted. KingAgroot has also filed 109 PCT international invention patents, of which accumulatively 475 pieces/times of patents have accessed via PCT and Paris Convention into the Europe, the United States, Japan, India, Canada, Australia, Russia and other countries and regions, and 125 of them have been granted.

Founded in 2009, KingAgroot is a biotechnology innovation company with new herbicidal compound development and crop genome editing as its two major agricultural business platforms. During 2018-2020, four new compounds, cypyrafluone, bipyrazone, tripyrasulfone and fenpyrazone, invented by KingAgroot, were successfully registed at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for commercial application in wheat, rice and maize fields respectively, which has been positively impacting the industry.

Cypyrafluone and bipyrazone are used to control ALS/ACCase inhibiting herbicides-resistant broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds in wheat field; tripyrasulfone is used in paddy for control of herbicide-resistant barnyard grass (Echinochloa crusgalli) and Chinese sprangletop (Leptochloa chinensis); fenpyrazone is a powerful killer of resistant broadleaf weeds in corn field.Of these novel HPPD inhibiting herbicides, cypyrafluone was included in a key research program under the China’s 13th-Five-Year Plan. It is worth noted that these four high level new compounds targeting to protect the world’s staple food crops, e.g. rice, wheat and corn, are very helpful in solving the difficult and fundamental weed problems, making KingAgroot one of the first-tier players in the global agrochemical industry.

In the years ahead, KingAgroot will continue to launch new herbicide compounds, for example, fufengcaoan (KAI-151162), lvfumidingzhi (KAI-153915), fulvancaozhi (KAI-141012) and fucaoding (KAI-161452). KingAgroot will also release its gene edited crops that are combined with the new herbicidal compounds to contribute to the elimination of global hunger.

The inauguration of KingAgroot Innovation Center marked a new beginning and a new chapter for the development of KingAgroot. It is expected that this center become a driving engine for the global herbicide and biotechnological crop breeding innovation and lay a solid foundation for KingAgroot to realize its mission of “asking science for life and eliminating global hunger.”