AgrEvo strikes deal on research Gene Logic technology to be used to develop agricultural products

Genetics

July 02, 1998|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Hoechst Schering AgrEvo GmbH, the fifth-largest agro-chemical company in the world, said yesterday that it has ++ agreed to use Gene Logic Inc.'s genetics research technology to help develop new agricultural products, such as disease-resistant seeds and powerful new pesticides.

The agreement between Gene Logic and AgrEvo is for three years, with the possibility of an extension of up to five additional years, the companies said. Under the agreement, Gene Logic is barred from striking similar agreements in the field of agriculture.

Mark D. Gessler, Gaithersburg-based Gene Logic's chief financial officer, said the deal could be worth up to $45 million in payments for research and access to Gene Logic's database of genetic information if AgrEvo sticks with the collaboration for eight years.

Genomics industry experts estimate Gene Logic will be paid about $10 million during the initial three-year period.

Gessler said the company would receive royalties on sales of products that result from the alliance, and would be due undisclosed payments for meeting specific research and database development milestones.

AgrEvo is a joint venture between Hoechst Corp. and Schering AG, the world's No. 2 herbicide maker with sales of $2.4 billion last year.

"This is a significant deal for us," said Gessler. "It's clear we are going to serve as the centerpiece of their effort to use genomics to develop new agriculture products."

The deal is the first agriculture-related research and development agreement publicly held Gene Logic has struck.

It has several R&D alliances with major pharmaceutical companies and universities in the field of medicine, including a -- deal with Procter & Gamble's pharmaceutical division and SmithKline Beecham.

As part of the AgrEvo agreement, Gene Logic said, it will $H develop a research database using its proprietary technology, which can detect gene codes or "sequences" active during growth and disease and how they respond to treatments and other changes.

One project Gene Logic will work on involves determining what genes might be inserted into a plant germ to give it protection against disease and other threats.

"The collaboration teams us with one of the world's leading crop production and plant biotechnology companies in an aggressive research program to develop a new generation of agricultural products," said Dr. Michael J. Brennan, president and chief executive officer of Gene Logic.

Pub Date: 7/02/98

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