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Evogene to Collaborate with Vilmorin for Tomato Yield Improvement

28/05/2008

Rehovot, Israel (May 28, 2008) – Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) today announced a collaboration with Vilmorin, a French seed breeder and the mother company of 'Hazera Genetics', to improve yield and yield stability in tomatoes. Under the agreement, Evogene has licensed to Vilmorin the rights to certain genes discovered by Evogene, which have demonstrated improved yield and yield stability in tomatoes. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

Vegetables are the world’s most important source of micronutrients and an essential component of the world’s food supply. The significant and continuous growth of world population and improvements in quality of life, combined with an on-going loss of land available for farming, has created an immediate and rapidly increasing need for greater output of vegetables.  The development and introduction of vegetables with improved yield and yield stability can contribute to both a more sustainable food supply, and greater stability of growers' income.   

The candidate genes licensed to Vilmorin under this collaboration were discovered by Evogene using its advanced in-silico gene discovery technology, the 'ATHLETE'. These genes have already undergone three years of field trials in tomatoes, displaying consistent improvements in yield of over 20% under both normal and environmental stress conditions. Through the collaboration, Vilmorin will evaluate the influence of the licensed genes on yield improvement in its elite varieties.

"We are very pleased to collaborate with Vilmorin, a world leading breeder of elite vegetable seeds,” stated Mr. Assaf  Oron, Evogene's VP Strategy and Business Development. "The licensed genes have shown significantly improved performance in tomatoes, and we strongly believe in the potential to jointly develop yield enhanced varieties based on Vilmorin's elite germplasm.” Mr. Oron concluded. 

About Evogene

Evogene is a leading developer of improved plants for the ag-biotech and biofuel industries. The Company’s proprietary product development platform combines world leading computational gene discovery technologies, high throughput selection systems and advanced breeding methods. The platform’s computational biology component - the ATHLETE - is based on Compugen's (Nasdaq: CGEN) in-silico predictive discovery capabilities. Evogene's current programs focus on yield under normal and various environmental stress conditions (such as drought), fertilizer utilization and the improvement of plants specifically for biofuel uses. Evogene has collaboration and licensing agreements with world leading companies in the ag-biotech and alternative energy industries. Evogene's headquarters are in Rehovot, Israel, and is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE:EVGN). For additional information, please visit Evogene’s website at www.evogene.com 

About Vilmorin

Listed on Euronext Paris, Vilmorin is the fourth largest seed company in the world, and an expert in the creation of novel vegetable and field crop plants. Based on a sustainable, responsible vision of its development, its strategy is a successful combination of research and international growth. For more information, please visit website at www.vilmorin.info 

Press releases for 2008