REHOVOT, Israel, Oct. 29, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Evogene Ltd. (NYSE:EVGN) (TASE:EVGN), a leading company for the improvement of crop productivity and economics for the food, feed and biofuel industries, today announced the expansion of its crop protection activities with the completion of dedicated facilities to support research and development activities for the Company's product programs focusing on fungi, insect and weed control. The field of crop protection is a major focus of growth and expansion for Evogene where it looks to develop novel seed traits as well as seed external solutions for these areas.
Over the past year, Evogene significantly increased its activities in the area of crop protection. In late 2013, as part of its multi-year collaboration with Monsanto, the company announced a new product program targeting Stalk Rot disease caused by various fungi species. In April of this year, Evogene disclosed its entry into the area of plant insect resistance and control with initial activities focusing on developing seed traits displaying resistance to two key insects, corn rootworm and soybean aphids. With respect to weed control, the company recently announced that it anticipates completing during 2015 a start-to-end molecular discover platform for the development of chemical herbicides based on novel "modes of action".
The newly completed facilities support these new and increased areas of activity, and are part of Evogene's previously disclosed expectation to invest approximately $10 million over the next few years to expand its existing knowledge base, computational platforms, and testing and validation capabilities.
"This expansion demonstrates our strategic commitment to strengthening our internal R&D capabilities in key areas within the crop protection field where there is a dire need for new solutions," commented Ofer Haviv, Evogene President and CEO. "Our substantially expanded capabilities in this area, including these new dedicated facilities, will provide Evogene with significantly greater in-house capacity for discovery, testing and evaluation of promising genes and chemical compounds. More importantly, we anticipate that leveraging our unique underlying discovery capabilities with this enhanced and expanded infrastructure will lead to important new product opportunities for fungi, insect and weed control."
About the new facilities:
The new research facilities, located in the vicinity of the Company's headquarters in Rehovot, Israel, will feature three separate state-of-the-art laboratories and will join Evogene's existing 380,000 square-feet of research and development facilities in Israel, which today include dedicated tissue culture and molecular laboratories, 36 greenhouses for gene validation and propagation in model plants, and testing fields.
The new facilities will be staffed by research experts in the fields of plant science, entomology, microbiology and chemistry. The overall crop protection research and development activities will be led by Dr. Eyal Emmanuel, who was recently appointed as Executive Vice President R&D Crop Protection.
The highly equipped laboratory space will enable advanced screening and validation for both biology and chemistry research. The facilities will also host additional server rooms to support the company's recent expansion of its computing grid to over 1,000 CPU's. The expanded backbone capability adds over 30% more bandwidth to Evogene's already substantial computing power.
About Evogene Ltd:
Evogene (NYSE:EVGN) (TASE:EVGN) is a leading company for the improvement of crop productivity and economics for the food, feed and biofuel industries. The Company has strategic collaborations with world-leading agricultural companies to develop improved seed traits in relation to yield and a-biotic stress (such as tolerance to drought), and biotic stress (such as resistance to disease and nematodes), in key crops as corn, soybean, wheat and rice, and is also focused on the research and development of new products for crop protection (such as weed control). In addition, the Company has a wholly-owned subsidiary, Evofuel, developing seeds for second generation feedstock for biodiesel. For more information, please visit www.evogene.com and www.evo-fuel.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" relating to future events. These statements may be identified by words such as "may", "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 are 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.
CONTACT: Karen Mazor, Evogene Director, Public and Investor Relations T: +972-54-2288 039 firstname.lastname@example.org