SOURCE: Evogene



June 18, 2012 09:00 ET

Rasi Seeds and Evogene to Collaborate on Improving Key Traits in Rice

Collaboration to Focus on Increasing Yield and Drought Tolerance for One of the Most Important Food Crops in India and Worldwide

ATTUR, INDIA and REHOVOT, ISRAEL--(Marketwire - Jun 18, 2012) - Rasi Seeds and Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) today announced a collaboration, focused on increasing yield and drought tolerance in rice. Pursuant to the collaboration agreement, candidate genes discovered by Evogene for these key traits will be introduced into Rasi Seeds pipeline for the development of improved hybrid rice. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Rice is one of the most important grains for human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of all calories consumed worldwide. Over 50 percent of the world's population is dependent upon rice for 80 percent of its nutrition. Much of the world's rice crop is still dependent upon rainfall, therefore changes in weather patterns can alter the delicate balance between world supply and demand, significantly affecting rice trade and price. India is one of the leading producers of rice, having the largest area under rice cultivation worldwide.

Under the collaboration, Rasi Seeds will be granted a license to candidate genes, identified and prioritized through Evogene's ATHLETE™ computational genomic technology and validated in model plants. Rasi Seeds will integrate the licensed genes into its R&D pipeline and evaluate them in rice field trials. The agreement provides Rasi Seeds the right to commercialize hybrid rice incorporating these genes in India and in additional countries in southern-east Asia. Evogene will be entitled to receive milestone payments and royalties based on the sales of resulting products.

"We are pleased to collaborate with Evogene to introduce new technologies and excel our research and development in rice hybrids," stated Dr. M. Ramasami, CMD of Rasi Seeds. "With Rasi's leaderships in hybrid seed products in India, this collaboration serves our goal to expand into a multi-crop quality research to contribute the farming community and the industry, primarily in India. Rasi will continuously invest in R&D and new technologies for the sustainability of food production in India."

"We are very pleased to enter into this collaboration with Rasi Seeds, one of the major seed companies in India. India and south-east Asia are key and strategic markets for improved rice seeds and we are excited to have the opportunity to bring our technology to these markets in collaboration with one of the leading companies in the region," stated Mr. Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO. "Considering the critical importance of rice for human nutrition in this rapidly growing region of the world, we believe that by addressing key traits, such as improved rice yield and drought tolerance, we can contribute significantly to increasing production and thereby benefiting both growers and consumers worldwide."

About Rasi Seeds
Rasi Seeds (P) Ltd. was initiated by Dr. M. Ramasami in 1973 in Attur located in Salem District, Tamilnadu, India. Rasi Hybrid Seeds has made rapid advances from seed production and supply ventures to a commendable position in Research and Development and transformed Rasi Seeds (P) Ltd. into one of the leading companies in the seed sector. Having 600 in qualified workforce, the company serves large sections of Indian farmers. Rasi has been recognized as the leader in cotton hybrids. Now Rasi is expanding its business in hybrid seeds of maize, pearl millet, rice, wheat, mustard and vegetables. The company has excellent processing facilities and follows efficient seed production techniques, high seed quality and purity standards. The services network provides technical support to several thousand farmers enabling them to produce high quality seeds. Rasi is providing best performing genetics to Indian farmers to reap the benefits. For additional information, please visit Rasi Seed's website at

About Evogene
Evogene is a world leading developer of improved plant traits, such as yield and drought tolerance, for a wide diversity of key crops through the use of plant genomics. The company focuses on utilizing its proprietary computational genomic technologies to provide a complete solution for plant trait improvement through combining state of the art biotechnology and advanced breeding methods. Evogene is collaborating with world leading seed companies to introduce its improved plant traits into key commercial crops under milestone and royalty bearing agreements. 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" relating to future events. These statements may be identified by words such as "may", "expects", "intends", "anticipates", "plans", "believes", "scheduled", "estimates" or words of similar meaning. Such statements are based on current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions, describe opinions about future events, involve certain risks and uncertainties which are difficult to predict and are not guarantees of future performance. Therefore, actual future results, performance or achievements of Evogene may differ materially from what is expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, many of which beyond Evogene's control, including, without limitation, those risk factors contained in Evogene's reports filed with the Israeli Securities Authority. Evogene disclaims any obligation or commitment to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or developments or changes in expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions.

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