Bayer CropScience has strengthened its research and development presence in North America with the purchase of independent biotech company Athenix Corp.

The acquisition of the North Carolina firm bolsters Bayer’s position in the fast-growing seeds and genetic traits market and underpins its research platform in North America, the company’s Friedrich Berschauer said.

Athenix employs 65 people, specialising in commercial gene discovery, herbicide tolerance and insect control trait development, particularly for corn (maize) and soybean.