Thursday, July 18, 2024

Origin Agritech Chairman and CEO Dr. Gengchen Han Provides Business Updates and Answers Questions from Investors

BEIJING, July 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Origin Agritech Ltd. (NASDAQ: SEED) (the "Company" or "Origin"), a leading Chinese agricultural technology company, provided a business update from Dr. Gengchen Han, Chairman and CEO of Origin Agritech.

Dear Shareholders,

We are pleased to provide you with an update on our recent developments, including our progress in GMO commercialization, the performance of our commercial hybrids, and advancements in our gene editing business.

GMO Commercialization Developments
Recently, Origin Agritech achieved a significant milestone by obtaining China’s GMO safety certificate for our transgenic maize, BBL2-2. This maize GMO event, developed in collaboration with the Biotechnology Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, exemplifies our commitment to innovation and sustainable agricultural practices. The BBL2-2 maize event is engineered with two insect-resistant genes, Cry1Ab and Cry3b, and one herbicide-tolerance gene, Cp4-epsps. These genetic traits provide robust protection against various pests, including corn borer, cotton bollworm, armyworm, and Firefly bimaculata, making it the only maize variant in China resistant to coleopteran pests.

We are also progressing with several hybrids incorporating these traits, which are entering GMO variety registration trials. We expect these hybrids to be approved within 1-2 years, with one hybrid poised to pass the trial and be ready for commercial production in the next growing season. We will accelerate the seed production and sales process over the next 6-12 months to meet market demand.

Commercial Hybrid Performance
At Origin Agritech, we have always focused on developing hybrid crops that deliver superior yield, resilience, and sustainability. Our latest commercial hybrids have performed exceptionally well in field trials and commercial plantings, demonstrating significant advantages over traditional varieties. These hybrids are engineered to thrive under high-density planting conditions, which are crucial for maximizing yield per acre. By optimizing plant architecture, including improved leaf angles and root structures, our hybrids allow for higher planting density without sacrificing plant health or productivity.

One of our standout performers is the new corn hybrid, OY728, which has shown excellent results in various planting environments. Its robust growth and high yield potential have made it a preferred choice for farmers looking to increase their productivity and profitability. The improved version of OY728 will be in production and sales in 2025. Additionally, our NEC hybrids have also performed well in large-scale demo plots, offering superior yield and nutritional value. Extensive field demonstrations and seed production trials across various regions have showcased the performance of our hybrids, receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from farmers who report higher yields and better crop health compared to previous plantings.

Gene Editing Business Progress
Our gene editing business is a testament to our commitment to developing next-generation solutions that enhance crop productivity, resilience, and sustainability. Through precise gene editing techniques, we have achieved remarkable breakthroughs that are transforming the agricultural landscape. One of our most notable achievements is developing a high-yield corn inbred line. Over two years of rigorous multilocational field trials, this gene-edited line has demonstrated a yield increase of more than 50% compared to the non-edited check inbred. This leap in productivity addresses global food security challenges and sets a new standard for crop efficiency.

In addition to increased yields, our gene-edited crops offer significant cost reductions in hybrid seed production. By enhancing specific genetic traits, we can create more productive and cost-effective crops for farmers to grow. Another groundbreaking development is establishing the world’s first induction line genetic transformation system. This innovative system allows us to quickly and accurately edit major maize inbred lines with diverse genetic backgrounds. It breaks the technical barrier of improving maize inbred lines through gene editing, enabling us to enhance crop traits within just one year.

We have developed various gene editing platforms to precisely improve commercial hybrids, including optimizing plant architecture to increase planting density, drought tolerance, disease resistance, and other characteristics. The gene-edited high-yield inbreds and related hybrids are currently in production trials and demo plots this season, with the gene-edited plant architecture hybrids soon to enter commercial production.

At Origin Agritech, we aim to address global food security challenges by leveraging cutting-edge biotechnologies and promoting sustainable farming practices. Our recent achievements in commercial GMO hybrids and gene editing are a testament to our relentless pursuit of excellence and our commitment to transforming agriculture for the better. We are dedicated to providing farmers with the best possible tools to succeed, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in crop development to ensure unmatched performance and sustainability.

Highlights of Questions Submitted from Investors:

Which product, or products, are the first to generate near-term revenue?
Regarding our hybrid corn seed product line, Origin’s corn variety Aoyu 728 has rapid sales momentum. It’s predicted that the sales volume of  Aoyu 728 alone will cover over 1 million mu and generate about RMB40 million or close to $7 million US dollars in revenue in the 2025 season.

For our GMO corn seed product line, Origin’s GMO hybrid corn seed variety Aoyu 64BF will complete the required experiments of the national GMO trial later this year and is expected to start small-scale seed production this winter. Demonstrations and sales will begin next year.

NEC hybrids are another product that we believe will generate significant revenue in 2025.

Since the GMO approval, have any other companies inquired about partnering?
Yes, we’ve had several inquiries, but we will discuss future partnerships as they progress.

When does the company plan to commercialize its newly approved BBL2-2 GMO corn?
We received the GMO Bio-safety certificate for BBL2-2 this May and will have 15 corn varieties containing BBL2-2 available to participate in the National GMO variety trials in 2025. The BBL2-2 version of OY728 could have pilot seed production in 2025 and be ready for sale in 2026.

What is the approval status of the Company’s variety application for BFL4-2 GMO seeds?  What is the timetable for their approvals?
Origin’s GMO corn variety Aoyu 64BF will complete the national trials and is expected to receive the variety approval certificate by the end of 2024. Ten more of Origin’s corn hybrids containing BFL4-2 will participate in the National GMO variety trials. They should be approved in approximately 1-2 years.

What is the approval status of the safety certificate application of drought-resistant GMO seed?
We will submit the safety certificate application in November 2024.

Is the Company looking to commercialize, via licensing or sale, the recently announced gene editing platform that utilizes CRISPR to bring externally owned corn traits to market?
Yes, we are entering a variety of different commercial pathways. We intend to aggressively pursue the commercial strategy to deliver the maximum value to our Company and its shareholders.

What is the number of MU/acres that we planted NEC in Xinjiang this year? What is the expected revenue and profit for the production of NEC corn this year?
The planting area of NEC corn in Xinjiang has doubled, with a projected profit of between RMB 2 to 5 million, or $350,000 to $950,000 US dollars.

Was construction of the corn drying and processing facility completed in Xinjiang? Is it ready for use in this harvest season of NEC corns?
The drying facility is in the final stages of construction, and we anticipate it will be completed this September.

Last year, it was said that " Muyuan has tested our NEC hybrids in more than 15 locations in 2023. Potential collaborations are currently under discussion." Do we have an update on the progress?
Yes, Muyuan was satisfied with last year’s testing results, and have expanded testing to more locations and acreage this year.

About Origin Agritech Limited
Origin Agritech Limited, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Zhong-Guan-Cun (ZGC) Life Science Park in Beijing, is a leading Chinese agricultural technology company. In crop seed biotechnologies, Origin Agritech’s phytase corn was the first transgenic corn to receive the Bio-Safety Certificate from China’s Ministry of Agriculture. Over the years, Origin has established a robust biotechnology seed pipeline, including products with glyphosate tolerance and pest resistance (Bt) traits. For further information, please visit the Company’s website at www.originagritech.com. The Company also maintains a Twitter account for updating investors on Company and industry developments which is https://x.com/origin_agritech.

For more information, please contact:
Origin Agritech Limited Contact:
Kate Lang (Mandarin/English)
Director of Investor Relations
Phone: +86 186-1839-3368
Email: [email protected]  

Investor Relations Contact:
Matthew Abenante, IRC
President
Strategic Investor Relations, LLC
Tel: 347-947-2093
Email: [email protected]

 

Source : Origin Agritech Chairman and CEO Dr. Gengchen Han Provides Business Updates and Answers Questions from Investors

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