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Divergence, Monsanto Company (MON) Collaborate To Develop Nematode-Resistant Soybeans


10/19/2005 5:10:10 PM

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Monsanto Company and Divergence, Inc. announced today a collaborative relationship to develop nematode-resistant soybeans.

The targeted pest, soybean cyst nematode, attacks roots of soybean during the growing season, and the annual U.S. yield loss can amount to a billion-dollar problem for soybean growers.

As part of the collaboration, Monsanto will gain exclusive rights to Divergence's existing technology in this area and will provide funding for ongoing research performed by Divergence. Divergence will also receive milestone payments based on research and development success, and royalties once products reach the marketplace.

"Monsanto is committed to remaining a leader in providing important traits to growers that will allow them to realize maximum productivity and to investing in improvements that allow U.S. soybean growers to be competitive in the world marketplace," said Robert T. Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Monsanto. "Divergence is unique in its focus on controlling parasitic nematodes, and its use of innovative science in the discovery and development of leads gives Monsanto a running start in the search for tools to combat this problem."

"Divergence is thrilled to have aligned our scientific efforts with such a strong partner in agricultural biotechnology and seeds," said Derek K. Rapp, Chief Executive Officer of Divergence. "With its tremendous capabilities and experience in product development, Monsanto is an ideal company to take Divergence's technologies forward to the marketplace."

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Divergence is dedicated to the discovery of effective and ecologically sound strategies for the control of parasites and other pests. The company's initial focus is on parasitic nematodes, one of the world's major pest groups. Nematodes are roundworms that cause billions of dollars in damage annually to numerous crops, including soybeans, cotton, strawberries, and bananas. Nematodes also cause widespread disease in animals, including infections such as heartworm in dogs and cats and intestinal worms in livestock. Nematode- induced human diseases include elephantiasis and African river blindness. See: http://www.divergence.com/ .

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. For more information on Monsanto, see: http://www.monsanto.com/ .

Monsanto Company

CONTACT: Derek Rapp, CEO of Divergence, Inc., +1-314-812-8052, or BenKampelman of Monsanto Company, +1-314-694-6192



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