Soybean cyst nematode is a major challenge for soybean growers
REHOVOT, ISRAEL, September 23, 2013 – Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN), a leader in plant genomics underlying crop productivity for the food, feed and biofuel industries, today announced a three year extension of its research collaboration with Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc. The collaboration was established in mid-2009 to identify plant genes providing resistance to Soybean Cyst Nematode.
Plant parasite nematode is one of the most devastating and yield reducing pests affecting agriculture today, accounting for almost $100 billion in crop damages annually. The soil borne parasite is widely prevalent in soybean, attacking the roots of developing soybean plants and resulting in yield losses of between 30 and 50 percent in heavily infected fields. The impact to U.S. soybean growers alone has been estimated to reach $1.3 billion annually.
The three year collaboration extension follows successful results obtained by Syngenta for candidate genes provided by Evogene as part of the original collaboration. Candidate genes have demonstrated reduced nematode infection and have advanced to further testing in Syngenta’s soybean pipeline for potential development and future commercialization of improved soybean seeds.
“Nematodes are one of the most underdiagnosed plant diseases dearly in need of new technological solutions,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, Head of Biotechnology for Syngenta. “We believe that through our collaboration with Evogene, we will be able to bring new offers for nematode control to growers more quickly.”
Under the extended collaboration, Evogene will utilize broader discovery strategies to provide Syngenta with additional candidate genes acting under new modes of action to achieve nematode resistance. Furthermore, Evogene will utilize its proprietary PlaNet technology, part of Evogene’s integrated Gene2ProductTM platform, to predict the most promising candidate genes for stacking (i.e. combining of multiple genes) in order to further improve product efficacy.
“We are very pleased by both the results achieved to date with respect to soybean cyst nematode resistance and our continuing and expanding relationship with Syngenta, and are confident that the combination of our discovery capabilities and Syngenta’s development expertise will result in novel paths to address this devastating pest,” said Ofer Haviv, President and CEO of Evogene. “The agreement extension is an important addition to our growing activities in addressing biotic stress conditions, such as nematodes and other plant parasites, where Evogene has built significant capabilities for identifying novel genes to combat the variety of acute biotic stresses affecting the world’s key crops.”
Under both the original agreement and the extension, Evogene is entitled to receive research payments, success-based milestone payments and future royalty payments based on the sale of resulting products by Syngenta.
Evogene is a plant genomics company, utilizing a proprietary integrated technology infrastructure to enhance seed traits underlying crop productivity. Evogene offers a complete solution for crop productivity improvement through biotechnology and advanced breeding using a unique technology infrastructure that is based on deep scientific understandings of plant genomics and proprietary computational capabilities. The Company has strategic collaborations with world-leading agricultural companies to develop improved seed traits in relation to yield and a-biotic stress (such as tolerance to drought), and biotic stress (such as resistance to disease), in key crops as corn, soybean, wheat and rice. In addition, Evogene has earlier stage operations in agriculture chemicals, and seeds focusing on second generation feedstock for biodiesel. Evogene’s headquarters are located in Rehovot, Israel and is listed for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: EVGN). For additional information, please visit www.evogene.com.
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” relating to future events. These statements may be identified by words such as “may”, “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 Evogene may differ materially from what is expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, many of which beyond Evogene’s control, including, without limitation, those risk factors contained in Evogene’s reports filed with the Israeli Securities Authority. Evogene 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.
Karen Mazor, Evogene
Director, Public and Investor Relations
T: +972 54 22 88 039