The industry’s most productive innovation engine

Syngenta invests around $1.4bn a year in R&D, and is unique in combining chemistry, genetics, breeding and computational science to develop new products and solutions. Our R&D function is already the most productive and innovative in the industry, and we continue to increase returns while accelerating the pace of innovation.

Our markets present major opportunities for creating long-term, sustainable value through the successful development and application of technology. To realize these opportunities in 2015, we invested $1.36bn into R&D. Our R&D strategy aims to anticipate and meet growers’ needs, faster and better than our competitors.

Major opportunities to create sustainable value

We aim to anticipate problems, leveraging our broad portfolio of technologies to create new solutions. For example, we predicted the emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds and began work on meeting the challenge a decade ago. This has yielded a series of new products – most recently ACURON®, which combines multiple modes of action to combat resistant weeds and inhibit the development of further resistance. We launched ACURON® in 2015 in the USA, where resistant weed infestations in corn have risen by 50% in just four years.

Further solutions will come from our work on bio-controls, which offer the advantage of precisely targeted action and can be used alongside synthetic chemistry. Examples of current projects in this area include RNA-based bio-controls to combat Colorado potato beetle, and we are now aiming to extend the scope of this technology to corn rootworm and other pests.

Challenges such as heat, drought and cold are known as abiotic stress – and represent future opportunity. Our recent solutions have included AGRISURE ARTESIAN® – optimized for water use efficiency – and ISABION®, which increases rice yields by protecting young plants from cold during transplantation.

Accelerating the pace of innovation

We also received US approval for ORONDIS, which offers a step change in controlling diseases such as downy mildew and late blight, at significantly lower application rates than other fungicides.

ORONDIS is based on the AI oxathiapiprolin, licensed from DuPont: one example of the way we are using partnerships to bring innovation to the market faster. Across our crop protection portfolio in 2015, we released more than 70 new formulations.

We are progressing three new GM traits for soybean and corn through the regulatory approval processes. These are OH2 soybean and corn molecular stacks for herbicide tolerance and corn rootworm. We also have a strong research pipeline, with more than 20 corn trait leads in late research or with late research potential. Our traits have now been licensed by all our major competitors, reflecting the strength of our technology.

In 2015, our breeding programs resulted in significant new launches in corn, soybean and rice, as well as new yield records for wheat and barley. In Vietnam, the first hybrid developed in Syngenta’s local rice breeding program was approved for sale.

New crop Protection pipeline

New blockbusters in large markets

Product Indication Crops Status Launch year Peak sales
ADEPIDYN™ Fungicide Cereals, corn, soybean, specialty crops, vegetables Stage 3 2016/2017 >$750m
Lead 1 Insecticide Multiple crops Stage 3 2021 >$750m
Lead 2 Herbicide Multiple crops Stage 2 2023 >$600m
Lead 3 Fungicide Cereals, soybean Stage 1 (late) 2022 >$600m
Lead 8 Herbicide Multiple crops Stage 1 (late) 2024 >$500m

Large products in smaller segments

Product Indication Crops Status Launch year Peak sales
ORONDIS Fungicide Vegetables, specialty crops Stage 3 2016 >$150m
Lead 4 Insecticide Vegetables, specialty crops Stage 3 2021 >$250m
Lead 5 Seedcare Cereals, corn, soybean Stage 1 (late) 2021 >$400m
Lead 6 Seedcare Multiple crops Stage 1 (late) 2022 >$200m
Lead 7 Seedcare Multiple crops Stage 1 (late) 2022 >$100m
Stage 1:
Invention, optimization
Stage 2:
Stage 3:
Development and launch

New traits pipeline

The industry’s next wave of new GM traits is some years out, but Syngenta has the platform and the capabilities to continue delivering leading trait innovation to the market.

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Next generation traits
New abiotic stress traits
New traits

Size of circles represents relative sales potential

Smarter breeding brings results and rewards

Breeding summary picture

Developing higher-yielding crop varieties is essential to producing more from less. One answer lies in agriculture’s next science revolution – analytics.

The Syngenta R&D soybean breeding team used advanced mathematics and new tools to improve the process of growing a wider variety of healthy crops. The tools dramatically improved project lead training, decision-making and planning.

The soybean breeding program won the 2015 Franz Edelman Award, the most prestigious recognition of applying advanced analytics to benefit business and humanitarian outcomes.

The power of analytics is truly transformational in agriculture, and we are now customizing these tools for use on corn, sunflowers, rice and even watermelons.