We understand the key to superior genetics, from maximizing performance of the seed to achieving bigger and optimal yields.

Frontier Agri-Science
Our goal at..

Frontier Agri-Science Inc.

Founded in 2010 with innovative non-GMO technology discovered by company co-founder and CEO, Dr. Julian Northey.  We focus on simplicity and the awesome power of genetics to uncover and reveal novel traits for the next-generation of crops to be used in sustainable agriculture.


Important Milestones
  • We have been convinced by the high quality of Frontier research at a time where biotech companies are more technologically driven than based on understanding fundamental biology.
  • Frontier is working in collaboration with BASF’s crop protection division on several projects using platform technologies to find new genetics that are of commercial interest of both parties.
  • Frontier was profiled late last year by Lux Research, an independent research and advisory firm, providing strategic advice and ongoing intelligence on emerging technologies.



Our team has over 140 peer-reviewed publications in plant genetics with 22 of those in the world’s top journals Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  This has culminated in >10,000 citations, which is a testament to the incredible influence and novelty of our research.


Companies, Institutes, and Universities Who Work With Us


Water-Use Efficiency & Stress Tolerance

With an increasing global population and diminishing availability of arable land and water, the demand for high-yielding, environmentally robust crops is extremely high. In both natural and cultivated conditions, plants frequently encounter stressful environmental conditions that adversely affect growth, development, and/or productivity. Among such environmental stresses, drought is the greatest worldwide environmental constraint for agriculture. It is estimated that drought can reduce crop yield by up to 60-70 percent in any particular year. Therefore the ability of plants to tolerate drought conditions is crucial for agricultural production. A drought-resistant crop has the advantage of not only guarding against loss of yield due to unfavourable weather, but also of potentially allowing successful farming in previously inhospitable environments and/or reducing the amount of irrigation and water resources required to sustain a crop over the growing season.

Most importantly, from our non-GMO screening platform Frontier is now working with over a dozen durum wheat varieties and several bread wheat varieties with a goal of commercial seed production.  

This platform can be applied to any global variety and we can screen multiple varieties at one time.

Herbicide Tolerance

Crop protection chemicals, also known as pesticides, are chemicals that are used in agriculture to enhance the production and quality of crops. They include products such as fungicides, insecticide, and herbicides. Countries across the globe are looking for ways to enhance their agricultural production in response to increasing world-wide food consumption.  

Cellulose biosynthesis inhibitor (CBI) herbicides are a small group of chemically unrelated compounds including the herbicides dichlobenil, isoxaben and flupoxam. Although they are a rather small group of compounds in relation to all of the herbicides, they have several qualities that make them quite important.  For example, the lack of field resistance to these compounds and a site of action not shared by mammals make them an important group in terms of resistance management and approval by government agencies concerned with toxicological issues. Moreover, they appear to be useful tools to unravel the complexities of the plant cell wall and, more specifically, the production of cellulose (see below).

Most importantly, we have isolated several alleles (i.e. single base-pair changes in the genome), through our forward genetic screens that looked for resistance to CBIs, that also confer cross-resistance to BASF chemistry (PCT/CA2013/000289 & WO2015/162143). 

BIOFUELS - Increased Saccharification Technology

Plant biomass has the potential to serve as a sustainable alternative feedstock for manufacturing a multitude of materials, including transportation fuels.  Cellulosic feedstocks have a greater potential for fossil fuel displacement than do other biomass feedstocks.  Effectively harvesting cellulosic biomass can be achieved by growing energy crops with higher productivity (tonnes per hectare per year) and photosynthetic efficiency, and lower chemical and energy inputs than traditional food crops.  Such feedstocks would have improved potential for fossil fuel displacement, however current technologies for processing cellulosic biomass are inefficient, thus preventing cellulose derived fuels from being cost-competitive with fossil fuels. 

That’s because much of the plant’s biomass is encapsulated in the cell wall in the form of cellulose, and branched polysaccharides, collectively known as hemicellulose, and lignin.   Moreover, the biochemical conversion of cell walls to a useful carbon source is a costly and energy inefficient process.  This recalcitrance has led to the development of a variety of technologies that usually involve the deconstruction of plant cell walls through either acid, thermochemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis. 

For example, hemicellulose can be hydrolyzed by dilute acid treatments but these conditions are not severe enough for cellulose hydrolysis. Increasing acid concentrations or carrying out acid treatments at high temperature and pressure improves sugar yields from cellulose but both processes are corrosive and increase costs.  Unfortunately, enzymatic approaches of digesting cell wall material are not a mature technology. Moreover, the protective nature of the cell wall to cellulases means digestion is slow and inefficient.  As a consequence, acid hydrolysis pretreatments are again often used to depolymerize and solubilize hemicelluloses.  The lack of energy efficient and environmentally friendly conversion of cell wall polymers into fermentable sugars or saccharification has spurred interest in using genetic and genomic approaches that modify the cell wall for industrial processing.

It would be highly advantageous to produce modified biomass feedstock with altered cell walls containing cellulose and other matrix polysaccharides that are less stable or more amenable to either enzyme or acid hydrolysis. Frontier has now identified one key allele in monocots that significantly alters cellulose crystallinity while still preserving the integrity of the plant.

We’re at the cusp of a new generation of non-GM corn and looking for the right partner to bring this technology to market.


Bioinformatics & Speciality Services

We’re crafting highly optimized algorithms and bioinformatic systems to elucidate key allelic changes in the quest for phenotype to genotype associations.



Interested in:

  • Licensing
  • Co-development
  • Contracting us for your next project in Arabidopsis, Brachypodium, corn, wheat, soybean etc.
  • Becoming a strategic and financial partner to grow the next great seed company with global impact