Protabit, Monsanto Launch Startup

Pasadena-based Protabit, a brand new startup based on research from Caltech, and chemical giant Monsanto disclosed this morning that the two firms have entered into a two-year collaboration, to develop new tools for protein design and optimization. Protabit, founded by Caltech professor Stephen Mayo, and Duke University professor Homme Hellinga, said the firm's software tools will be used to shorten the product discovery process for Monsanto. Monsanto will use the technology to more quickly identify gene candidates for improving yields in corn, cotton, and soybeans. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, however, the firms said that Monsanto will have exclusive rights to the tools developed by Protabit, for use in the fields of plant improvement and agriculture.