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DURHAM – Gene editing startup Pairwise is quickly making a name for itself among the cutting edge of companies seeking to deploy technology know as CRISPR across the world’s food chain. The latest development came Tuesday when the company unveiled details about its editing platform called Fulcrum.

Chief Development Officer Ian Miller calls Fulcrum a “seismic tweak” for CRISPR (Clustered, Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats).

The news come just days after five-year-old Pairwise launched its “Conscious Foods” products, which the company says is powering up nutrition and taste of greens. Pairwise says its technology has produced “superfood greens that eat like lettuce.”

CRISPR salads – greens made tastier by gene editing – head to market from Durham startup

“With the Fulcrum platform, we can make small genetic changes that deliver big product impacts, Miller explained in the announcement.

“The fact that we’ve gone from concept to product in just four years, with the recent launch of our gene edited Conscious Greens, demonstrates our ability to solve complex challenges for society and industry alike at the pace demanded by today’s marketplace.”

Pairwise also has a big ally in Bayer, using the Fulcrum technology “to identify nearly 200 unique gene sequences that can be changed to improve productivity and disease resistance across ​a variety of row crops, including a unique target in corn that has increased kernel rows by up to 20%.”

Miller says the previously disclosed agreement with Bayer is a big credibility boost for Pairwise – and Fulcrum.

“Our partnership with Bayer shows what our Fulcrum Platform is capable of achieving,” Miller said.

Fulcrum is used with other Pairwise tools (SHARC, REDRAW, others) it says “allow[s] for precise changes at virtually any location in a genome, an approach that holds huge potential not only in agriculture, but in other fields as well, such as medicine.”

The company’s mission

According to the USDA Economic Research Service, only 9% of Americans eat the recommended daily allowance of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.

As reported by TechWire previously, Pairwise is on a mission to dramatically increase fruit and vegetable consumption by providing consumers with new varieties that are both appealing and full of nutrients. CRISPR technology enables Pairwise scientists to create innovative products, such as the new leafy greens, that will make their supermarket debut in the next couple of years.

Earlier this year, the company announced a collaboration with a berry breeder and ag research company in California, Plant Sciences, Inc., to develop new berry varieties.

Pairwise has licensing agreements with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to use its CRISPR genome-editing technologies. Pairwise has the exclusive license to specific Massachusetts General CRISPR technology for developing agricultural applications.