DURHAM – Like your berries? Pairwise, one of the Triangle area’s fast-growing agriculture and food biotech companies, is working to put more options on supermarket shelves.
It has partnered with California-based Plant Sciences, Inc. (PSI), a berry breeder and agricultural research company, to offer new types of berries. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Pairwise, which operates a site in Durham’s Golden Belt and greenhouses in Research Triangle Park, will use its gene editing capabilities, and access to critically important germplasm provided by PSI.
Germplasm are living genetic resources such as seeds or tissues that are maintained for the purpose of animal and plant breeding.
The uptick: improved taste and convenience, as well as increased shelf-life and off-season availability of berries.
Teams will focus on black and red raspberries, as well as blackberries.
“Berries are one of the fastest growing produce categories in the United States, but this is largely concentrated on just a few varieties,” said Pairwise CEO Tom Adams, in a statement. “Imagine having dozens of new berry varieties that offer more choice and flavor in healthy food options.”
“At Pairwise, we want to make healthy eating easier. Now, more than ever, people are focused on their food options and looking for ways to make healthy choices at home. Through the collaboration with PSI, we are moving from science partnerships to product partnerships that will bring new berries to market.”
Pairwise said this collaboration builds on a public/private partnership with PSI previously established with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several leading academic institutions to identify diverse, novel types of berries that are not broadly bred for commercial sale today.
As part of the deal, PSI will use their commercial nurseries to grow plantlets for these new improved varieties. Pairwise and PSI will ultimately license farmers to plant, grow and produce these new types of berries.
Initial berries are expected to be available in the next few years, the company said.
Since announcing the company’s formation in March 2018, Pairwise has grown to include more than 100 employees.