United Soybean Board Awards Grant to Amfora to Increase the Protein Content of U.S. Soy


Group’s focus on protein reflects effort to maintain U.S. soy farmers’ global market share

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 03, 2019 — Amfora, a biotechnology company that is applying gene editing to sustainably feed the planet, announced that it has received a grant from the United Soybean Board that the company will use to develop soybean varieties with increased protein content. 

The United Soybean Board oversees a comprehensive program to increase the demand for and competitiveness of soybean grown in the United States. Check-off funds received from U.S. soybean farmers provide the funding for projects selected by the USB that are aimed at maximizing the profit opportunities of all U.S. soybean farmers.  

“Increasing the protein content of U.S.-grown soy is a key strategic objective for the USB, and we are constantly reviewing technologies for their potential to achieve this objective,” said Polly Ruhland, CEO of the United Soybean Board. “We are eager to see the results that Amfora will generate over the coming year.” 

“We are gratified that the USB recognized the value of our program and selected it for funding,” said Michael Lassner, Chief Science Officer for Amfora. “We have already demonstrated that we can significantly increase the protein content of soybean seed by re-programming a genetic switch in the soybean genome. By applying gene editing to re-program this switch in commercial soybean varieties, we believe we can accelerate the development and launch of soybeans with at least 10 percent more protein across the U.S. soybean belt.” 

The grant from the USB will provide Amfora with $350,000 in funding for a one-year period. If certain milestones are achieved, the USB may, at its discretion, provide additional funding in the following years. 

About the United Soybean Board
The 73 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff (a percentage of revenues received by soybean farmers from the sale of their crop) to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to build preference for U.S. soy by addressing and meeting end-users’ needs, specifically in the areas of meal, oil and sustainability.

About Amfora
Amfora is a biotechnology company that is applying gene editing to sustainably feed the planet. Its primary technology platform can increase the protein density of all crop plants.  Increasing the protein density of feed crops significantly reduces the amount of feed required by livestock and farmed seafood. Increasing the protein density of food crops such as wheat and rice makes these staple crops a more complete source of nutrition. Amfora is a portfolio company of Spruce Capital Partners, a venture capital fund manager headquartered in San Francisco.  More information can be found at www.amforainc.com