Bayer is touting a new herbicide molecule that it says offers “the first new post-emergence mode of action for broad-acre weed control in 30 years.”

“Discovering new herbicide MOAs has been a challenge for the industry, but Bayer’s continued investment, leading compound library and advanced screening capabilities have enabled a breakthrough,” the company said in an announcement Thursday.

The molecule is in “early development,” the second of the four phases of Bayer’s R&D process. Phase 3 covers late development and Phase 4 is when registrations are filed for the product or products that emerge.

“Multiple MOAs for weed control are important for managing herbicide resistance and enabling practices that help to sequester greenhouse gases, like no-till farming,” Bayer said. The mode of action is the way a herbicide affects a plant at the tissue or cellular level.

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The molecule has demonstrated effective control of key resistant grasses in early research,” Bayer said. It also is evaluating “initial approaches” to identify and develop “a corresponding biotechnology trait to convey herbicide tolerance.”

The company said the development of the new molecule shows progress in Bayer’s 10-year, $5.6 billion effort to come up with new ways to combat weeds as resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, increases.

The flagship herbicide is the subject of about 43,000 lawsuits that attempt to link Roundup exposure to cancer. Bayer and plaintiffs’ attorneys have been engaged in settlement discussions, which have boosted the company’s share price in recent weeks.

When Bayer announced its multibillion-dollar sustainability initiative, it said glyphosate would “continue to play an important role in agriculture and in Bayer’s portfolio” but added it is “committed to offering more choices for growers.”

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