SOURCE: Evogene


April 21, 2009 03:00 ET

Bayer CropScience and Evogene Enter a Multi-Year Collaboration for Rice Yield Improvement

MONHEIN AM RHEIN, GERMANY and REHOVOT, ISRAEL--(Marketwire - April 21, 2009) - Bayer CropScience AG and Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) today announced a three-year collaboration focused on increasing rice productivity and yield. Pursuant to the collaboration agreement, key candidate genes discovered by Evogene for yield enhancement will be introduced into Bayer CropScience's rice R&D pipeline for the development of high yielding hybrid rice. The agreement strengthens and expands the companies' existing research and development collaboration for rice, established in 2007.

Rice is one of the most important grains for human nutrition, providing more than one fifth of all calories consumed worldwide. Rice is the cereal with the second highest worldwide production after maize. For a number of years the growth rate of rice production has been slower than population growth, which triggered the need for rice varieties displaying improved yields.

Dr. Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, Head of Research at BioScience, a business operations unit of Bayer CropScience, welcomes the expanded business relationship with Evogene. "Advantages in yield and yield stability of our superior hybrids have been the basis of our leadership position in rice hybrid seeds. The integration of the full breadth of Evogene's proprietary yield improvement gene technology into our rice R&D pipeline will allow us to keep offering top-of-the-line innovation to our customers, especially with regard to ensuring higher yields in difficult climatic conditions."

"We are very pleased by this expansion of our rice collaboration with Bayer CropScience on yield improvement," stated Mr. Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO. "This important trait has been, and will remain, a key focus area for Evogene, and the new agreement represents an important addition to our rapidly expanding programs in this area. In addition, we believe that these types of broader, longer term collaborations with world leading ag-biotech companies, such as Bayer CropScience, are the most efficient way for Evogene to continue progressing towards its goal of being the leading trait provider to the seed industry," Mr. Haviv concluded.

Under the terms of the collaboration:

--  Evogene will provide Bayer CropScience with candidate genes,
    discovered by Evogene, that are predicted to improve yield;
--  Evogene's computational technology, the 'ATHLETE,' will be used for
    the gene discovery process, and the genes will be validated by Evogene in
    model plants;
--  Bayer CropScience will integrate the licensed genes into its R&D
    pipeline and evaluate them in rice;
--  Bayer CropScience will be granted an exclusive commercialization
    license to the candidate genes for use in rice;
--  Evogene will receive annual research payments and is entitled to
    development milestones and royalty payments based on sales of any resulting

Bayer CropScience and Evogene have been collaborating since June 2007 to increase productivity and yield in rice.

About Bayer CropScience

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 6.4 billion (2008), is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of more than 18,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries.

About Evogene

Evogene is a world leading developer of improved plant traits. The company's proprietary product development platform combines state of the art computational gene discovery technology (The 'ATHLETE'), plant and field validation capabilities and unique selection systems. Evogene's current programs focus on the improvement of key plant traits, such as yield and stress tolerance, and the improvement of plants specifically for biofuel uses. Evogene has collaboration and licensing agreements with world leading companies in the agro-biotech and alternative energy industries. Evogene's headquarters are in Rehovot, Israel, and its stock is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: EVGN). For additional information, please visit Evogene's website at

This press release contains "forward-looking statements." These statements include words like "may," "expects," "believes," "scheduled," "potentially" and "intends," and they describe opinions about future events. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Evogene Ltd. to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

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