Evogene (EVGN), IMAmt Enter Insect-Resistant Cotton Seed R&D Collaboration

October 19, 2016 11:45 AM EDT

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Evogene Ltd. (NYSE: EVGN) and Instituto Mato-grossense do Algodão (IMAmt) announced a collaboration for the discovery and validation of novel genomic promoters to support IMAmt's product development of insect-resistant cotton varieties. The multi-year collaboration agreement between the companies provides for R&D fees and royalty payments from any future products developed as a result of the collaboration, to be paid to Evogene.

As part of the collaboration, Evogene will apply its biology-driven, predictive computational technology to identify novel genomic promoters. The two companies will then work jointly to validate the candidate promoters in cotton. The resulting validated promoters will support IMAmt's product development pipeline of cotton varieties based on Bt toxins, a family of bacterial genes toxic to insects, and featuring resistance to Boll Weevil, a beetle-like pest which feeds on cotton buds and flowers.

Genomic promoters are segments of DNA that determine the expression patterns for genes. Such promoters, when used with appropriate genes, are an essential component of improving seed trait efficacy.

"We are very excited to support IMAmt's product development efforts in the area of novel insect resistant varieties. This collaboration is indicative of a growing realization in our industry that the selection of the most appropriate promoter is a crucial component in the successful development of a seed trait," said Ofer Haviv, Evogene President and Chief Executive Officer. "Evogene's broadly applicable biology-driven computational platform provides a very unique solution to this need."

“We have great expectations towards this partnership with Evogene and we are sure that it will be crucial for the success of our project of developing cotton GM plants resistant to boll weevil, key pest of this crop in South America,” said Alvaro Salles, IMAmt Chief Executive Officer.

The agreement expands Evogene's activity in the field of promoter discovery and follows the Company’s recent initial results for successful promoter validation.

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