SOURCE: Evogene

September 03, 2007 10:00 ET

Evogene and Zeraim Gedera Salt Tolerant Tomato Collaboration Advances to Second Phase

REHOVOT and GEDERA, ISRAEL--(Marketwire - September 3, 2007) - Evogene Ltd. (TELAVIV: EVGN) and Zeraim Gedera Ltd, which was recently acquired by Syngenta S.A., announced today that their joint program for the development of salt tolerant tomato varieties has successfully completed the first phase with experimental varieties currently undergoing field trials in target locations worldwide. Under a recently signed follow-on agreement, the parties intend to further develop the experimental varieties towards commercialization and develop additional varieties for new target markets.

The use of massive irrigation practices and water sources of high salinity levels in tomato growing areas have caused a reduction in tomato yield and in severe cases the abandoning of such areas. The tomato varieties developed through this collaboration are expected to allow growers to maintain high yields under severe growing conditions displaying high salt concentrations of water and soil.

Zeraim Gedera's breeding program is based on its leading tomato germplasm and utilizes Evogene's advanced selection tools. These selection tools include proprietary selection assays and molecular marker for salt tolerance, developed based on Evogene's computational gene discovery platform.

"We are very pleased with the successful completion of the first phase and Zeraim Gedera's choice to continue the joint development," stated Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO. "We are very excited about the potential of the new tomato varieties being developed based on Zaraim Gedera's world leading varieties," Mr. Haviv concluded.

Ohad Zuckerman, CEO of Zeraim Gedera, stated: "Zeraim Gedera views this collaboration as a first step towards future collaborations with Evogene for developing improved varieties that will strengthen our competitive position in vegetables. This is the first agreement we signed since the closing of Syngenta's acquisition, and an initial step towards enhancing our involvement in the Israeli R&D institutes and private companies such as Evogene."

About Evogene

Evogene's mission is to be a world leader in delivering improved plant traits to the agro-biotechnology and biofuel industries through the use of a continuously improving proprietary platform combining state-of-the-art computational genomics, molecular biology and advanced breeding methods. Evogene's current trait development portfolio includes: abiotic stress tolerance and yield, enhancement of cotton fiber quality, improving nitrogen use efficiency, increasing oil yield for the biodiesel use and plant manufacturing of therapeutic proteins. Evogene was founded in 2002 by the spin-off of the agro-biotechnology division of Compugen Ltd. (NASDAQ: CGEN). Evogene's core in-silico technology, the ATHLETE, is based on Compugen's proprietary LEADS computational platform. Evogene completed an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in June 2007. For additional information, please visit Evogene's website at www.evogene.com

About Zeraim Gedera

Zeraim Gedera is one of the world's leading companies in vegetable varietal development. Since its establishment in 1952, the Company is known for its expertise in breeding high quality vegetable varieties, and in developing and marketing of its vegetable seeds world-wide. The company was lately acquired by Syngenta, a world-leading agribusiness, which purchased all of the company's shares from Markstone Capital Partners, an Israeli private equity group. Zeraim Gedera focuses on six vegetable products: tomatoes, sweet peppers, watermelons, melons, squash and cucumbers, and has longstanding research and breeding relationships with leading research institutes and universities in Israel and world-wide. As a result of massive investments in R&D, outstanding breeding capabilities and a strong presence in major markets world-wide, such as Spain, Turkey, Mexico, USA and China, Zeraim Gedera has displayed rapid growth in the past few years. For additional information, please visit Zeraim Gedera's website at www.zeraimgedera.com.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements." These statements include words like "may," "expects," "believes," "scheduled" 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.

Contact Information

  • Contact Information:

    Evogene
    Liat Cinamon
    PR & IR Executive
    E-mail: Email Contact
    Tel: +972-8-9311933

    Zeraim Gedera
    Tal Frank
    Marketing Manager
    Email Contact
    Tel: +972-8-944-6252