SOURCE: Evogene

Evogene

June 26, 2009 07:00 ET

Syngenta and Evogene to Collaborate on Soybean Nematode Resistance

REHOVOT, ISRAEL--(Marketwire - June 26, 2009) - Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) today announced a collaboration with Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc. focusing on identifying plant genes related to soybean nematode resistance. Under the agreement, Syngenta will receive exclusive licensing rights to candidate genes discovered by Evogene for use in soybean.

Soybean nematode is a soil parasite which attacks the roots of developing plants, and is one of the most devastating and yield limiting pests of soybean. Soybean growers may lose more than 20 percent of their yield to this pest, while defenses against it are limited. It is estimated that soybean nematode causes losses in the United States alone exceeding one billion dollars annually.

"We are very pleased by this collaboration with Syngenta and we look forward to working with the Syngenta team on this key trait for soybean," stated Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO. "Plant pest protection traits, such as nematode resistance, have a strong impact on farm productivity hence Evogene intends to expand use of its predictive technologies for gene discovery in this field," Mr. Haviv concluded.

"Syngenta is a leader in advanced breeding to bring our grower customers the best choices to protect yield against soybean pests," stated Roger Kemble, Head Syngenta Crop Genetics Research. "This collaboration complements our in-house trait discovery program, creating new sources of genes for biotech traits to strengthen our current offering."

Under this collaboration agreement, Evogene will provide Syngenta with candidate genes discovered by Evogene's computational gene discovery technology, the 'ATHLETE,' that are predicted to improve nematode resistance. Syngenta will evaluate candidate genes in its soybean research and development program. Syngenta may commercialize improved soybean seeds developed through this collaboration.

Specific details of the agreement were not disclosed.

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 www.evogene.com.

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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