COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Novozymes has signed up two new partners for its biological agriculture business (BioAg), adding to its previously exclusive partnership with German chemicals giant Bayer in a drive to boost growth.
The Danish company is the world's largest maker of industrial enzymes and with BioAg produces microbes such as bacteria and fungi to protect plants from pests and help them to grow faster.
It will continue a close innovation and commercial partnership with Bayer within corn and soy, Novozymes said late on Thursday, as it presented two new partners - Univar Solutions and UPL.
The Danish firm's shares were up 2.7 percent at 0910 GMT.
Novozymes said it had been happy with its collaboration since 2014 with Monsanto and then Bayer, which bought Monsanto last year for $63 billion (£48.2 billion).
"But there are of course things they don't have focus on, for example peanuts. That's one area we can now send to a place where it will get the needed attention," head of Novozymes' Agriculture & Bioenergy business Tina Sejersgaard Fano said.
She said the decision was not linked to last week's ruling from a U.S. jury to award $80 million to a man who claimed use of Bayer's weed killer Roundup caused his cancer, or the thousands of potential similar looming lawsuits.
"Of course we follow the court case, but is has nothing to do with our decision. We're working with Bayer on making agriculture more sustainable by making solutions that gives a better yield with fewer chemicals," Fano said.
Novozymes' BioAg business is a part of its Agriculture and Feed division, which accounted for 14 percent of its total sales of 14.4 billion Danish crowns ($2.17 billion) last year.
(Reporting by Teis Jensen; Editing by Mark Potter)