ST. LOUIS, MO and REHOVOT, ISRAEL--(Marketwire - November 29, 2011) -
Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON
) and Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) announced today a one-year extension to their five-year research and development collaboration focused on identifying key plant genes related to yield, environmental stress and fertilizer utilization in corn, soybean, cotton and canola. The companies recently announced the successful completion of the collaboration's third year.
The collaboration's gene discovery activities to date have been based on Evogene's ATHLETE™ computational technology. As part of the extension, Evogene will add its Gene2Product™ computational technologies to its gene discovery program, offering an additional approach for enhancing trait efficacy and the development of candidate genes identified under the collaboration.
Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO stated, "We are delighted by this extension of our joint work with Monsanto and in particular with the addition of our Gene2Product computational technologies. We expect that by bringing together Monsanto's development expertise and these new Evogene technologies, in addition to those already utilized in the collaboration, the companies will be able to further address some of the key challenges that the seed industry is facing in the discovery and development process for biotechnology products in agriculture."
"Continued agricultural innovation is the key to meeting growing global demand, which is why productive collaborations like this one are critical," added Bob Reiter, Vice President and Global Lead of Biotechnology for Monsanto Company. "By combining Evogene's innovative gene discovery technologies with Monsanto's trait development expertise, we'll ultimately be able to better deliver products to help farmers increase their productivity."
Additional terms of the collaboration include:
- Evogene will continue to provide Monsanto with candidate genes discovered by Evogene's computational technologies that are predicted to improve yield, fertilizer utilization and a plant's reaction to environmental stress. The genes will be validated by Evogene in model plants.
- Monsanto receives exclusive license rights to such candidate genes delivered by Evogene for use in corn, soybean, canola, and cotton.
- As stated above, Evogene will now begin to apply its Gene2Product™ computational technologies to optimize trait efficacy and the product development process. Evogene will receive additional research payments related to this addition to the collaboration.
- Successful candidate genes that emerge from the collaboration will be commercialized by Monsanto through its branded seed and trait licensing businesses, with Evogene entitled to receive both development milestone payments and royalties.
As part of the original agreement, Monsanto agreed, via a put option exercisable by Evogene, to invest $12 million toward additional equity in Evogene. This arrangement remains in place under a new put option that is exercisable at $12 per share at a later date.
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 the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at www.monsantoblog.com, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
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. These technologies include ATHLETE™ for gene discovery; Gene2Product™ for improving trait efficacy and probability of successful development of biotechnology seed products; and EvoBreed™ for breeding enhancement. Evogene's plant genomics capabilities combine high throughput plant validation systems, field experiments and proprietary genomic data creation. 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 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.
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.