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Monsanto Collaborates with Marina

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Recently, Monsanto Co. (MON) entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Marina Biotech Inc. Monsanto Co. o support the latter’s delivery and chemistry technologies.

Marina Biotech Inc., a biotechnology company develops and commercializes therapeutic products through multiple mechanisms, including RNA interference. On the other hand, Monsanto has been continuously increasing its production by focusing on innovation and upgrading technology in order to ensure higher yields for farmers. The licensing agreement seems to be an important technical collaboration validating a discovery platform in agri-business as well as life sciences sector.

Terms of the agreement have not yet been disclosed.

Of late, Monsanto Company posted strong financial results in the second quarter of fiscal 2012 with an EPS of $2.28 from its ongoing business. The company generated revenues of $4,748 million in the reported quarter. On the other hand, Bothell, Washington based Marina Biotech Inc. reported revenue of $600,000 for the year ended September 30, 2011.

Over time, growers have witnessed an upside in volumes and a mix benefit from Monsanto seeds. These seeds successfully increased yields, while reducing the use of key resources, which gives the company a competitive edge above the other industry players including Syngenta AG (SYT) and BASF SE (BASFY).

Time and again, the company’s collaborations with agri-business research firms and molecular-bred hybrid technologies have proved effective. Although instances of societal resistance to new technology and poor acceptance of new products by farmers continue to raise anxiety, continuous increase in production led by technology upgradation helps balance such unease.

We currently maintain a long-term ‘Neutral’ recommendation on the stock. Monsanto has a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term ‘Buy’ rating (1-3 months).

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