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SAS Partners Up With Boragen To Boost Food Production

With the perceived threat of the global population outpacing food production, the analytics leader SAS has announced its collaboration with Boragen, a boron-based discovery platform company. The partnership will pursue crop protection research, helping more food make it from the field to the table.

Boragen, a pioneer in the boron-based discovery creates new molecules that fight plant diseases and protect crops. However, bringing a new compound from the lab to the field is time-consuming and expensive. It also involves several phases of testing.

This collaboration between SAS and Boragen will speed up the said process. With SAS’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies applied to Boragen’s data, researchers will be able to predict which products will be more effective, which proceeds to the next testing phase, and which can be abandoned. As a result, the whole process will lead to greater time and cost savings. Researchers can spend less time screening products in lab and greenhouse settings while moving promising products into field testing quicker with short development times.

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“We search for partners who can help meet the challenge of feeding 10 billion people by 2050,” said Paula Henderson, Senior Vice President for the US Commercial and Public Sector at SAS. “Boragen shares our commitment to transforming agriculture through research and technology, and we are excited to apply joint innovations to improve crop protection and boost food production.”

SAS will also assist Boragen’s research into sustainable ‘bi-functional’ products that effectively control pesky crop diseases and subsequently degrade into beneficial byproducts that improve crop health.

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“We have already seen biological evidence of such bi-functional products being achievable, and sophisticated data analytics will be critical in guiding our research into this promising frontier,” said Boragen Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder Dr. Tony Liu.

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SAS has its roots in agriculture. The company’s first project was analyzing agricultural data more than 40 years ago. Last year, SAS established a new AgTech business unit that partners with emerging companies, including those in its North Carolina backyard.

On the other hand, with SAS analytics, Boragen can access another layer of inference and insights into data sets, which further bolsters the novelty, efficacy, and safety of the boron-based crop protection pipeline.

Earlier in July, Boragen was bestowed with a $300,500 Grant for Antimalarial Drug Discovery by the National Institutes of Health Awards.

Also, in May, Boragen partnered up with Dole Fresh Fruit Company to find sustainable solutions to protect against Black Sigatoka-one of the most prevalent and damaging diseases affecting bananas. Prior to that, Boragen collaborated with Leading Universities in February to extend the benefits of its Boron-based Platform across agriculture, animal health, and human health.

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