The University of California has entered into a master agreement with U.K.-based Global Plant Genetics to sublicense new strawberry varieties in selected countries within Europe, the Mediterranean, and South America.
The agreement governs the commercialization of new varieties from the UC Davis Public Strawberry Breeding Program.
UC has been breeding strawberries since the 1930s and says the program’s aim is to develop new, commercially useful varieties that are higher quality, less vulnerable to pests and diseases and can be more efficiently grown.
During the prior six decades, the program developed more than thirty patented varieties. Approximately one billion patented strawberry plants are planted worldwide each year.
Strawberries are a top-earning invention for the university. In the fiscal year 2018, UC collected over US$7 million in gross licensing revenue.
GPG will work with UC Davis researchers, plant nurseries and fruit producers to test the commercial potential of new strawberry varieties in the specified territories.
“I greatly appreciate the effort everyone has put into creating this partnership. The dedicated and professional team at GPG will provide the university with a strong and well-established business for delivering newly developed UC Davis cultivars to several important international markets,” said Professor Steve Knapp, director of the breeding program.
Rupert Hargreaves, director of GPG, said that they are excited to be representing the world’s number-one strawberry breeding program.
“The quality of plant breeding, access to modern science, huge gene pool and impressive team of people give us confidence that varieties from this program will be at the forefront of international strawberry production for many years to come”, he added.
GPG was selected by UC Davis because of the company’s knowledge of the strawberry industry as well as its expertise in plant intellectual property (IP) management.
The terms of any individual licenses undertaken under the agreement will be defined once the commercial potential of individual varieties has been determined. The term of the agreement is for ten years.