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Plastomics and Evogene’s Ag-Seed division enter a collaborative agreement targeting novel insect control traits for soybean

The parties will test in soybean, Evogene’s candidate genes for insect control utilizing Plastomics’ novel chloroplast transformation technology

St. Louis, USA, and Rehovot, Israel, March 17, 2021 – Plastomics, Inc., an agricultural biotech company, developing a step change in trait delivery technology, and Evogene Ltd.’s, (NASDAQ, TASE: EVGN), Ag-Seed division, focusing on discovery and development of seed traits, announced today a collaboration agreement targeting novel insect control traits for soybean.

As part of the collaboration, Plastomics, utilizing its disruptive new technology, will introduce Evogene’s insect control genes demonstrating new modes of action (MoAs) into soybeans. These genes, which were discovered using Evogene’s GeneRator AI engine, have demonstrated insecticidal activity in different assays to controlling insect colonies that are resistant and susceptible to current commercial insect solutions. a significant challenge to soybean growers.

The global market for biotech seeds is projected to reach a size of US$45 Billion by 2027, where biotech soybeans accounting for about 48% of the current market, is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 6.7% through 2027[1],[2]. New MoA insect control products have the potential to deliver significant value to soybean growers by addressing the increasing resistance of insects to current insect solutions, all of which are essentially based on the same MoAs introduced decades ago. The combination of the Plastomics’ platform together with Evogene’s new MoA insect control genes, has the future potential for controlling insect species in soybean and other row crops.

Plastomics is a development stage company with novel technology to introduce traits into plants in a manner that overcomes deficits of traditional biotech trait introduction.  Instead of relying on nuclear transformation, which is the basis for all current biotech crops on the market, Plastomics utilizes novel chloroplast transformation technology.  Taking advantage of the crop’s solar engine – the chloroplast – aims to solve challenges inherent in traditional gene transfer to bring a new generation of trait benefits across the value chain, including consumers, growers and seed producers.

Jeffrey Staub, Ph.D., CTO at Plastomics, stated: “We look forward to working with Evogene to develop transformative solutions for insect control in soybeans. The combination of insect control traits with novel modes of action partnered with Plastomics’ novel delivery system creates the potential for a significant and needed step change in providing growers with safe, sustainable and effective tools for insect control.”

Basia Vinocur, Ph.D., Evogene’s VP-R&D Ag-Seeds, stated: “We are very pleased to enter into this relationship with Plastomics, utilizing their technology to introduce our candidate genes for insect control into crops. There is a dire need for new MoA insect control traits, and we are looking forward to addressing it through our joint efforts.”

About Plastomics, Inc.:

Plastomics is a plant biotechnology company making more effective and sustainable crops by delivering valuable traits to the chloroplast – the solar engine of the plant.  Plastomics is committed to using its technology to produce the next generation of agricultural crops to feed a growing world.  Plastomics is located in St. Louis, Missouri in the center of the 39 North Innovation District in the middle of America’s Heartland. This location provides access to the unique benefits of the technical expertise and specialized capabilities (e.g. greenhouse, growth chamber, tissue culture and advanced microscopy) of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.  For more information, please visit www.plastomics.com

About Evogene’s Ag-Seed division:

The Ag-Seed division is focusing on the discovery and development of novel seed trait products for fulfilling the growing demands for food, feed and other industrial market needs. The Ag-Seed division utilizes Evogene’s state-of–the-art proprietary computational predictive platform, the CPB and its GeneRator AI engine, harnessing the power of big data and artificial intelligence, for the discovery and development of improved seed trait products.

About Evogene Ltd.: 

Evogene (NASDAQ: EVGN), (TASE: EVGN) is a leading computational biology company focused on revolutionizing product discovery and development in multiple life-science based industries, including human health and agriculture, through the use of its broadly applicable Computational Predictive Biology (CPB) platform.  The CPB platform, incorporating a deep understanding of biology leveraged through the power of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, has been designed to computationally discover and guide the development of life-science products based on microbes, small molecules and genetic elements.  Utilizing the CPB platform, Evogene and its subsidiaries are now advancing product pipelines for human microbiome-based therapeutics through Biomica Ltd., medical cannabis through Canonic Ltd., ag-biologicals through Lavie Bio Ltd., ag-chemicals through AgPlenus Ltd., seed traits through the Ag-Seeds division, and ag-solutions for castor oil production through Casterra Ltd.  For more information, please visit www.evogene.com.

Plastomics Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” relating to future events. These statements may be identified by words such as “may”, “could”, “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 Plastomics may differ materially from what is expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, many of which beyond Plastomics’ control, including, without limitation, those risk factors contained in Plastomics’ reports filed with the appropriate securities authority. Plastomics 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.

Evogene Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” relating to future events. These statements may be identified by words such as “may”, “could”, “expects”, “intends”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “believes”, “scheduled”, “estimates” or words of similar meaning. For example, Evogene is using forward-looking statements in this press release when it discusses the testing of Evogene genes using Plastomic’s technology and the potential of a new MoA insect control product to deliver value to soybean growers and to control insect species in soybean and other row crops. 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 are beyond the control of Evogene , including, without limitation, the global spread of COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, the various restrictions deriving therefrom and those risk factors contained in Evogene’s reports filed with the applicable securities authorities. In addition, Evogene relies, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to conduct certain activities, such as its field-trials and pre-clinical studies, and if these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, comply with regulatory requirements or meet expected deadlines (including as a result of the effect of the Coronavirus), Evogene may experience significant delays in the conduct of its activities. Evogene disclaim any obligation or commitment to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or developments or changes in expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions.

  1. Global GMO Crops and Seeds Industry; September 2020 https://www.reportlinker.com/p05960955/Global-GMO-Crops-and-Seeds-Industry.html?utm_source=GNW
  2. Global Market Report: Soybeans, October 2020 – https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2020-10/ssi-global-market-report-soybean.pdf