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Ceres, Inc.  (CERE)
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Ceres, Inc. Segments

 
 

Business Segments III. Quarter
Revenues
(in millions $)
(May 31 2016)
%
(of total Revenues)
III. Quarter
Income
(in millions $)
(May 31 2016)
%
(Profit Margin)
Total
1.42 100 % -1.51 -

• View Income Statement • View Competition by Segment • View Annual Report

Growth rates by Segment III. Quarter
Y/Y Revenue
%
(May 31 2016)
Q/Q Revenue
%
III. Quarter
Y/Y Income
%
(May 31 2016)
Q/Q Income
%
Total
312.54 % 303.13 % - -

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To get more information on Ceres's Total segment. Select each division with the arrow.

  Ceres's

Business Segments Description



Forage Sorghum Seed and Traits

In 2015, we expanded our sorghum offerings to include hybrids for use as livestock feed and forage. We are leveraging our core capabilities in plant transformation and biotech traits and combining them with proprietary forage sorghum hybrids and breeding lines. Our goal is to expand forage sorghum into a major feed crop with higher yield and nutritional quality. We believe that our opportunity is supported by the following capabilities and advantages:

· Access to Leading Germplasm via Long-Term Relationship with Texas A&M University. Since 2007, we have acquired access to valuable sorghum parental lines (germplasm) through our strategic collaboration with Texas A&M University. We believe that this long-term relationship will continue to play a key role in developing new hybrids for the forage market similar to the advantages we received during our historical activities with similar types of sorghum.

1


· Multiple Distribution Arrangements. We have entered into several distribution agreements with well-established distributors of crop inputs and services in North America, including Helena Chemical Company, Wilbur-Ellis and 3rd Millennium Genetics. For the 2015 growing season underway in North America, we sold more than 4,000 acres of our Blade forage sorghum seed products for commercial evaluations, compared to approximately 3,000 acres previously estimated in July 2015 and 600 acres planted the previous season. We believe drought and water supply concerns in certain regions of the U.S. positively influenced customer decisions to plant our forage sorghum hybrids. As an outlet for previous generations of products in our portfolio, we also introduced generic seed for certain market segments. Plantings of generic seed are expected to cover several thousand additional acres.

· Favorable Performance Compared to Other Forage Sorghum and Silage Corn. Our current hybrids, which are traditionally bred and do not yet contain biotech traits, have performed well in numerous commercial and multi-hybrid field trials in the United States and have demonstrated a number of favorable attributes for forage feed, such as high yields and lower water requirements, as well as competitive production costs relative to corn and certain hay crops. For example, in two university-led evaluations, which included products from well-known seed companies, we achieved the highest milk production yield per acre, which is a key metric for dairy operations. For the 2015 growing season in North America, we are evaluating more than a dozen new hybrids that offer performance advantages such as higher yields and improved nutrition.

· Field Validated Biotech Traits and Non-Regulated Status. We have also advanced our biotech traits in sorghum for additional field evaluations in the United States. In a 2014 U.S. field evaluation, one of our leading biotech traits provided a greater than 20% biomass yield advantage in a commercial-type sorghum. In 2014, we also received confirmation from the USDA that our high biomass trait was not considered a regulated article under 7 CFR §340 of the USDA’s mandate to regulate genetically engineered traits. This determination is likely to make it more cost-effective and timely for us to develop this trait in sorghum, and as a result, we believe we have a clear and near-term path forward to the commercialization of this trait. We are targeting commercial release as early as 2018. By utilizing our high biomass or quality traits, such as our high carbohydrate trait, which has been validated in the greenhouse, we believe sorghum could potentially surpass silage corn in milk yield per acre, which is a key crop performance metric for dairies.

Biotech Traits for Sugarcane and Other Crops

Our biotechnology traits include traits that increase biomass yields and provide greater yield stability and resilience to drought and other stress conditions. Our strategy is to focus on genes that have shown large, step increases in performance, and whose benefits are largely maintained across multiple species. Trait performance is evaluated in target crops, such as corn, rice and sugarcane, through multi-year field tests in various locations. To date, our field evaluations have largely confirmed earlier results obtained in greenhouse and laboratory settings.

We believe that a number of our biotech traits could provide significant benefits to sugarcane production, such as improved biomass yields and greater resilience to drought and other stress conditions. Biotech solutions are particularly attractive in sugarcane because improvements through plant breeding have been cumbersome and slow compared to other crops. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization crop database, FAOSTAT, sugarcane is cultivated on approximately 65 million acres worldwide, including approximately 25 million acres in Brazil, 1 million acres in Colombia and 1 million acres in the U.S., all of which are initial target markets for our traits. In research-scale field evaluations completed in March 2015, our biotech traits demonstrated significant advantages in enhancing and protecting yields in commercial sugarcane varieties under tropical conditions in Latin America. Our yield traits accelerated maturation and ripening while demonstrating significant increases in overall biomass yields over controls. In addition, plants with one of our drought tolerance traits maintained biomass yields under low water conditions, and in certain cases, maintained yields with as little as half the water normally required during production. Plantings for the next stage of field trials were completed in June 2015 ahead of our original schedule. The next stage of research field trials, which should provide more definitive results, is expected to be completed by June 2016. At this current pace, commercial sugarcane cultivars with our traits could be ready for commercial scale-up, in select markets, as early as 2018.

For crops that have been intensely bred, like corn and rice, we have taken a different approach than other crop biotechnology companies in developing traits. First, we have optimized the expression of our genes differently by using gene promoters in a more precise, sophisticated manner. Promoters are the on-off switches for genes that determine where, when and under what conditions a gene is turned on, or expressed. We also believe that combining our transgenes together provides the best approach to generate a high impact advantage, such as increased grain yield or better drought tolerance. We describe these as multi-gene traits to distinguish them from first generation biotech crop traits, which usually consist of a single transgene per trait.

In two years of field evaluations in corn in China, our multi-gene biotech traits demonstrated significant yield advantages over controls in many of our research-scale field evaluations. Field evaluations represent a critical stage in the development of biotech crop traits, as they provide greater insight into how traits may perform in an agricultural setting. We have since advanced our best multi-gene combinations for additional testing of corn in China. We have expanded the scope of our trials, including evaluations of our traits in a more diverse set of corn breeding lines. Results of these evaluations are expected by January 2016. Favorable results from small-scale evaluations and research settings are not a guarantee of future commercial performance, and further evaluations will be necessary to confirm results. While we believe multi-gene combinations provide a more optimal solution, not all combinations work. Just as important, the promoters, which determine where and when a gene is expressed, are a critical to optimizing performance. However, testing the thousands of possible combinations for multiple genes and promoters can easily overwhelm even the most robust trait development pipelines.

To help overcome this challenge, we have also developed a new high-throughput, low-cost approach called iCODE, to rapidly create, evaluate and select optimal combinations of genes and their control components for next-generation biotechnology traits in crops. We believe that iCODE may have application in multiple row crops, including canola, corn, cotton, rice, sorghum, soybean and wheat. Due to the efficiency of the system, we believe that it can enable new kinds of discoveries and allow even smaller research programs to compete effectively against larger companies. In August 2015, we were awarded a U.S. patent covering our iCODE technology.


Persephone is a proprietary bioinformatics technology that enables storage and access to large, complex datasets as well as optimized data visualizations to view genetic data from public sources and proprietary databases. Our early need for the ability to manage large amounts of plant genomic data led to the effort to develop a scalable informatics platform, which resulted in our Persephone software. We believe that Persephone today is significantly more advanced than comparable products, including many in the human healthcare space. The Persephone software includes a number of proprietary data management optimizations to quickly access and visualize very large datasets. This speed enables more dynamic visualizations, intuitive discovery and greater insights into genetic information. We believe that our direct experience using Persephone internally and our ability to continually develop and launch new versions with additional features and functions will enable us to further establish our market position in the plant sciences and expand into new markets, such as biomedical research and diagnostics.
   

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