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Cobb-Vantress, Hendrix Genetics Extend R&D Partnership

16 November 2012
Cobb

THE NETHERLANDS - Affordable and higher quality food will result from new genetic advances inspired by a unique industry collaboration. Two of the world’s largest animal breeding companies aim to achieve further breakthroughs in the field of genomics during the next three years of a joint development agreement (JDA).

Arkansas-based Cobb-Vantress Inc. and Hendrix Genetics B.V. which is headquartered in Boxmeer in the Netherlands initially set up the JDA in 2008 to share and promote expertise, particularly in the fast-growing field of genomics. Already new genomic selection tools have been discovered and developed, such as the cutting-edge SNP Chip for chickens.

This is a glass slide that can analyse between 60,000 and 1 million variations in DNA sequences, - or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) - which act as biological markers and help scientists locate a range of genes associated with disease. The extended agreement will intensify efforts to develop new tools and discover fresh insights into animal genomics in order to improve breeding programs and help increase world food production.

Dr Gerard Albers, head of research and technology at Hendrix Genetics, said: "This is like two renowned chefs sharing recipes, swapping thoughts and ideas on how to create a perfect dish. There are many ways to create this dish, many ingredients that can be used, and with shared views we are able to come closer to this perfect dish."

The collaboration is the biggest within the animal breeding industry and will produce animals that are more productive, less susceptible to disease and at reduced cost, therefore helping to tackle global food shortages. According to the United Nations' World Food Program there are 870 million undernourished people in the world today.

The JDA will also strengthen Cobb's leading position in broiler breeding and Hendrix Genetics' renowned role in layer hen, turkey, pig and aquaculture genetics, while enabling the two companies to further explore joint venture business opportunities.

Cobb-Vantress is the world's leading supplier of broiler breeding stock and technical expertise for the chicken meat industry. It has about 2,500 employees and serves the industry in more than 90 countries.

Hendrix Genetics has nearly 2,500 employees worldwide and operations in 24 countries and provides expertise and resources to producers in more than 100 countries.

Jerry Moye, president of Cobb-Vantress, said: "The joint efforts of the Hendrix and Cobb R&D teams have provided valuable knowledge for both of our companies.

"Cobb is excited to continue our partnership with Hendrix Genetics. We look forward to discovering what opportunities may be in our future."

Antoon van den Berg, CEO of Hendrix Genetics, said: "Bringing together the resources and expertise of Hendrix Genetics and Cobb allows us to accelerate the rate of research and to meet the challenges of food production. "In genomics, scale is important, and the basics of breeding and genomics apply in most animal sectors."

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