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Evogene and IMAmt Enter a Collaboration in the Field of Insect Resistance Traits in Cotton
Evogene will identify candidate toxins mainly against Cotton Boll Weevil and IMAmt will validate the toxins
REHOVOT, Israel and CUIABÁ/MT, Brazil, July 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Evogene Ltd. (NASDAQ:EVGN) (TASE:EVGN), a leading biotechnology company developing novel products for life science markets, and Instituto Mato-grossense do Algodão (IMAmt), a leading developer and marketer of cotton seeds, announced today the signing of a research and validation agreement in the field of insect resistance traits in cotton, primarily focusing on the Cotton Boll Weevil but also on the Fall Armyworm. Evogene will identify genes predicted to be effective against Cotton Boll Weevil and Fall Armyworm, and IMAmt will validate the candidate toxins in cotton. Following successful validation, the parties intend to enter negotiations for a commercial license agreement.
Cotton is among the most significant commodity crops. Farm gate value of global cotton production is estimated at $30Bn1, with Brazil being the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world2. Cotton Boll Weevil and Fall Armyworm are among the most devastating pests threatening the viability of the cotton industry. It is estimated that the Cotton Boll Weevil inflicts annual costs of $468Mn in Brazil alone3, due to insecticide procurement and crop losses, with this pest seriously affecting all territories in which cotton is grown. Moreover, with insecticides being only marginally effective, this pest has made entire geographies inaccessible for cotton cultivation4,5. Fall Armyworm can cause significant damage to crops including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton.
As part of the agreement, Evogene will screen its extensive, already tested insecticidal gene data base and select genes with predicted activity against Cotton Boll Weevil and Fall Armyworm. Following the identification of such genes, IMAmt will validate these genes in lab assays directly against the target pests. Evogene will receive R&D funding for the initial discovery phase.
Alvaro Lourenco Ortolan Salles, IMAmt Director, said: "When visiting Evogene, we saw great potential for a collaboration between our two companies. We observed the efficiency in the delivery of their work already on the first experience we had. We are confident that together we will be able to respond to the various challenges that tropical agriculture imposes on us."
Dr. Arnon Heyman, VP Evogene and GM of Ag-Seeds division, said: “We are happy to announce this agreement with IMAmt, the largest cotton growers association in Brazil. With the advancement of selected toxins, originating from our insecticidal gene database to Phase I development, as previously announced, we find increased interest in this unique database that could be leveraged for targeting additional insects, such as the Cotton Boll Weevil which has been devastating for the cultivation of cotton in South America and elsewhere.”
Instituto Mato-grossense do Algodão (IMAmt) is a crop research and extension company, owned by Mato Grosso Cotton Grower’s Association (Ampa, Cuiabá/ Brazil). Created in 2007, IMAmt release cotton, soybean and other crop varieties for farmers of Brazilian’s cerrados, with technologies for herbicides, pests, diseases and nematode resistance. For more informations, please visit www.imamt.com.br
Evogene (NASDAQ, TASE: EVGN) is a leading biotechnology company developing novel products for major life science markets through the use of a unique computational predictive biology (CPB) platform incorporating deep scientific understandings and advanced computational technologies. This platform is utilized by the Company to discover and develop innovative ag-chemical, ag-biological and ag-seed products (GM and non-GM), and by two subsidiaries; Evofuel, focused on castor seeds, and Biomica, focused on human microbiome therapeutics. Through its collaborations with world-leading agricultural companies such as BASF, Corteva, Monsanto and ICL, Evogene has licensed genes, small molecules and microbes to partners under milestone and royalty bearing agreements. For more information, please visit www.evogene.com
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 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 appropriate 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.
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1 Syngenta ‘Our Industry 2016’
2 Statista, Global Cotton Production 2017/2018, by country - https://www.statista.com/statistics/263055/cotton-production-worldwide-by-top-countries/
3 International Advisory Committee: https://www.icac.org/login?url=%2Fpubdetail.php%3Fid%3DP0000102
4 Azambuja, R.; Degrande, P. E. Trinta anos do bicudo-do-algodoeiro no Brasil. Arquivos do Instituto Biológico, 2014. (Translation: Thirty years of boll weevil in Brazil)
5 ABRAPA, Brazilian cotton growers association, 2018- http://www.abrapa.com.br/Paginas/dados/algodao-no-brasil.aspx; Netto,, J. C.; Rolim, G.G.; Michelloto, M. D. Situação da lagarta-do-cartucho no Estado de Mato Grosso. Circular Técnica IMAmt, 2018. (Translation: Situation of fall armyworm at Mato Grosso State).