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Evogene and Biogemma enter collaboration to develop drought tolerant corn

25/07/2006

Evogene and Biogemma enter collaboration to develop drought tolerant corn

Rehovot, Israel and Paris, France – July 25, 2006 – Evogene and Biogemma announced today a collaboration to jointly develop commercial corn lines with improved tolerance to drought.

Corn, one of the three global crops which “feed the world”, matures during the peak summer months and requires significant amounts of water for optimum yield. Summer heat waves and drought spells are a major concern, often significantly reducing corn yield and creating billions of dollars in lost revenues for the growers. With the threat of global warming, scientists are facing a major hurdle: creating a more sustainable agriculture which will produce enough food with less water in order to feed a constantly growing population.

Therefore, one of the most attractive target traits in the agro-biotechnology field is limiting yield losses in crops due to ‘less than optimal’ environmental conditions.

For the past few years Evogene has been very active in this area. To date, and as part of Evogene’s abiotic stress tolerance program, the company has identified a set of novel gene candidates that have been shown to provide high tolerance to adverse environmental conditions in a number of model crops.

Drought resistance is known to be one on the most difficult traits to assess. Biogemma has developed different genomic approaches to define the best product. It includes gene candidates, expression and germplasm interaction in particular.

Ofer Haviv, President and CEO for Evogene stated: “We have been extremely pleased with our accomplishments to date in predicting and validating important genes for abiotic stress, and look forward to collaborating with Biogemma’s world class agro-biotechnology team in the development of drought resistant corn.

Michel Debrand, CEO for Biogemma “We have identified Evogene to be one of the most promising biotech research companies, especially in the area of plants tolerant to drought. Combining the expertise of Biogemma and Evogene is extremely exciting. We believe we will be very successful.

About Biogemma

Biogemma is a leading biotech company in Europe involved in Genomics applied to Field crops. Result of the merger of the biotech activity of three major seed business companies, and with the help of two financial institutions, the company is developing R&D programs with its partners, mainly in corn and wheat focused on biotic and abiotic stresses and specialty grain compounds. For additional information, please visit Biogemma’s Website at www.biogemma.com.

About Evogene

Evogene’s mission is to be a world leader in delivering improved plant
traits to the agbio industry through the use of a continuously improving proprietary platform combining state-of-the-art computational genomics, molecular biology and advanced breeding methods. Evogene’s current product development portfolio includes such traits as abiotic stress tolerance and yield, enhancement of cotton fiber quality; improving nitrogen use efficiency, and plant manufacturing of therapeutic proteins. Until its spin-off as a separate company in 2002, Evogene was the agbio division of Compugen Ltd. (Nasdaq: CGEN). Evogene’s core in silico technology was built on Compugen’s proprietary LEADS platform and it maintains a license for its use in the agbio field. For additional information, please visit Evogene’s Website at www.evogene.com.