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Monsanto Company (MON) Buys Divergence


2/23/2011 6:56:47 AM

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) announced that it has acquired Divergence, Inc., a privately-held St. Louis-based biotechnology research and development company. Divergence's current focus is its work with parasitic nematodes, including developing biotechnology traits for nematode control and nematicides with novel modes of action and superior safety profiles.

"Nematodes are one of the most challenging agricultural pests farmers face each year, and we've seen them become more pervasive," said Robb Fraley, Ph.D., Monsanto's chief technology officer. "These pests cost farmers millions in damages annually to crops like corn, soy, cotton and vegetables. Divergence has promising tools in its pipeline, including a nematicide which we believe could be used as a valuable seed treatment formulation to maximize the performance potential of the seeds and traits farmers plant."

"This is an exciting opportunity for Divergence," said Derek Rapp, Divergence's chief executive officer. "We're thrilled to see our research and product platforms, including our nematode resistant plant and nematicide work, move to Monsanto, a company that has the experience and resources to deliver outstanding products to farmers. We're confident that the hard work of the Divergence team will continue and will lead to new technologies with potential yield benefits for growers."

Divergence and Monsanto established a collaborative relationship in August 2004. Under the relationship, the two companies worked to develop nematode-resistant soybeans. In 2008, the companies made public their sequence of the soybean cyst nematode genome, and extended their relationship.

"Over the years, we've had a productive and successful relationship with our partners at Divergence," Fraley said. "We look forward to continuing this tradition and welcome Divergence's highly experienced and talented employees to the Monsanto team."

"Divergence has received tremendous support from the business and academic communities in the St. Louis region and throughout the state of Missouri," Rapp added. "Our success reflects the many resources of this region and its determination to flourish in the life sciences."

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

About Divergence, Inc.

Divergence, Inc., a world leader in the application of genomics and informatics to agriculture and infectious disease, discovers and develops products for the safe and effective control of parasites. The company's focus is on parasitic nematodes, devastating unseen pests that cause billions of dollars in crop loss annually and widespread disease in humans and animals. For more information visit Divergence's website at www.divergence.com.

About Monsanto Company

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: www.monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at www.twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on Facebook® at www.facebook.com/MonsantoCo, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.

Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Information

Certain statements contained in this release are "forward-looking statements," such as statements concerning the company's anticipated financial results, current and future product performance, regulatory approvals, business and financial plans and other non-historical facts. These statements are based on current expectations and currently available information. However, since these statements are based on factors that involve risks and uncertainties, the company's actual performance and results may differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, among others: continued competition in seeds, traits and agricultural chemicals; the company's exposure to various contingencies, including those related to intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance and the speed with which approvals are received, and public acceptance of biotechnology products; the success of the company's research and development activities; the outcomes of major lawsuits; developments related to foreign currencies and economies; successful operation of recent acquisitions; fluctuations in commodity prices; compliance with regulations affecting our manufacturing; the accuracy of the company's estimates related to distribution inventory levels; the company's ability to fund its short-term financing needs and to obtain payment for the products that it sells; the effect of weather conditions, natural disasters and accidents on the agriculture business or the company's facilities; and other risks and factors detailed in the company's most recent Form 10-K Report to the SEC. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which are current only as of the date of this release. The company disclaims any current intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements or any of the factors that may affect actual results.

CONTACT

Media: Sara Miller (314-694-5824) SOURCE Monsanto Company



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