Crop Genetics pesticide failed trials in Midwest

November 16, 1993|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

Crop Genetics International Inc. of Columbia said yesterday that one of its most important experimental pesticides failed in field trials this summer, which the company's chief executive said doesn't change the company's short-term outlook but robs it of a possible "home run" down the road.

The company's InCide pesticide was designed to kill the corn borer, a pest that consumes corn crops, company Chief Executive Joseph W. Kelly said. Tests in Iowa and Nebraska showed that InCide controlled bug infestations but failed to boost corn yields -- making the product commercially useless as a pesticide despite its bug-killing success.

"Under conditions in the Midwest this summer, [InCide didn't work]," Mr. Kelly said. "But yields in the Midwest this summer were not typical" because of the widespread flooding and rain in the region, he said.

Mr. Kelly said the company does not plan to do any more tests using InCide to protect corn.

He said halting research aimed at selling InCide to corn farmers won't affect the near-term results of Crop Genetics, which like many research-stage biotechnology companies has never been profitable.

The company's announcement came only hours after Alex. Brown Inc. analyst Hugh Holman lowered his investment rating on the company's stock yesterday morning. Mr. Holman changed his rating to neutral, from a buy recommendation. Crop Genetics fell 50 cents, to $2.625, in over-the-counter trading.

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