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Evogene and CIRAD sign a Frame Agreement for collaboration for the development of abiotic stress tolerant cotton


Rehovot, Israel - June 9th, 2004 - Evogene Ltd, a privately owned pioneer in plant biotechnology, and CIRAD, a French scientific organization, announce the signature of a multi-year collaboration for the development of abiotic stress tolerant cotton.

Evogene is an emerging company focused on the improvement of crops and the production of plant derived products. The company is unique in merging state-of-the-art predictive computational biology and molecular biology with the most advanced classical breeding technologies.
CIRAD (Centre de Cooperation Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developement) is the French Agricultural Research Centre for international Development for the tropics and subtropics.

The multiyear collaboration includes technology exchanges, screening by Evogene in high abiotic stress conditions in Israel of a broad collection of wild cotton germplasm from CIRAD and introduction into cotton of proprietary gene constructs discovered by Evogene using its predictive computational biology capabilities. Each partner will be free to exploit the product of the joint collaboration in certain geographic areas and with third parties consistent with the fulfillment of its mission.

Julien Meissonnier, VP of Business Development for Evogene, stated: "We are very pleased to enter a long term cooperation with CIRAD which has first class cotton research activities and decades of experience in developing cotton varieties adapted to difficult climates". Dr Raphael Meissner, VP and Head of R&D, stated: "In collaboration with CIRAD we will be able to get the best performance in cotton and add value to Evogene's constructs for improved abiotic stress tolerance discovered and already validated in other plants."

Jacques Pages, Head of Cirad Cotton research program looks forward to promising perspectives: "Research activities in which we are engaging with Evogene are based upon the most advanced techniques in the field of molecular biology and gene operating process. The goal at stake is to improve cotton resistance to drought stress. This scope is clearly in CIRAD's mandate to contribute through scientific knowledge and its application to the improvement of southern farmers' living conditions.
The project will also give opportunity to both partners to master techniques that could lead to numerous applications. It will eventually strengthen collaboration between French and Israeli scientists within the international scientific community".

CIRAD, the "Centre de cooperation internationale en recherche agronomique pour le d?veloppement", is the French Agricultural Research Centre for international Development. Its mission is to contribute to the economic development of the tropical and subtropical regions through research on agriculture, training, and dissemination of its results. It employs 1,850 people, including 950 senior staff, working in French overseas departments and some fifty other countries. Its budget amounts to approximately 180 million Euros. CIRAD has seven research departments: annual crops; perennial crops; fruit and horticultural crops; animal production and veterinary medicine; forestry; land, environment and people; and advanced methods for innovation in science. CIRAD operates through its own research centres, collaborating with national agricultural research systems, universities and international centres, as well as development projects.
CIRAD runs a cotton program with a staff of 50 including 40 researchers and 10 technicians, in Africa, the Americas, South East Asia and Montpellier (France) (for more information www.cirad.fr).

About Evogene
Evogene Ltd. is a pioneer in integrating predictive computational biology and plant genomics with classical breeding to generate improved crops and new agricultural biotechnology products. This objective is accomplished through the development of high-throughput, economically efficient platforms that accelerate, direct and mimic the natural evolution process. Evogene's current research efforts are focused in three areas: key trait improvements in cotton; gene discovery for abiotic stress tolerance and plant nutrient uptake; and a proprietary platform for the production of therapeutic proteins in plants.

Evogene's activities were initiated in 1999 as a division of Compugen (NASDAQ: CGEN); in 2002 Evogene was created as a separate company founded by Compugen and Drs. Hagai Karchi and Rafi Meissner. For additional information, please visit Evogene's Website at www.evogene.com.