Israeli Evogene Files to Raise $60 Million on NYSE and Extend Collaboration With Swiss Syngenta
Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) has filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise $60 million in a public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The company has not disclosed the terms of the proposed offering. The company posted $18 million revenue in the 12 months through June 2013.
Credit Suisse Securities and Deutsche Bank Securities LLC are the joint book-running managers for the proposed offering, and Oppenheimer & Co. and Piper Jaffray & Co. are the co-managers.
Evogene Ltd. announced a three year extension of its research collaboration with Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc. (SIX: SYNN NYSE: SYT). Syngenta AG is a global Swiss chemicals company which markets seeds and pesticides. Syngenta is involved in biotechnology and genomic research. The collaboration was established in mid-2009 to identify plant genes providing resistance to Soybean Cyst Nematode.
“We believe that through our collaboration with Evogene, we will be able to bring new offers for nematode control to growers more quickly.”
Plant parasite nematode is one of the most devastating and yield reducing pests affecting agriculture today, accounting for almost $100 billion in crop damages annually. The soil borne parasite is widely prevalent in soybean, attacking the roots of developing soybean plants and resulting in yield losses of between 30 and 50 percent in heavily infected fields. The impact to U.S. soybean growers alone has been estimated to reach $1.3 billion annually.
The three year collaboration extension follows successful results obtained by Syngenta for candidate genes provided by Evogene as part of the original collaboration. Candidate genes have demonstrated reduced nematode infection and have advanced to further testing in Syngenta’s soybean pipeline for potential development and future commercialization of improved soybean seeds.
“Nematodes are one of the most underdiagnosed plant diseases dearly in need of new technological solutions,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, Head of Biotechnology for Syngenta. “We believe that through our collaboration with Evogene, we will be able to bring new offers for nematode control to growers more quickly.”
Under the extended collaboration, Evogene will utilize broader discovery strategies to provide Syngenta with additional candidate genes acting under new modes of action to achieve nematode resistance. Furthermore, Evogene will utilize its proprietary PlaNet technology, part of Evogene’s integrated Gene2ProductTM platform, to predict the most promising candidate genes for stacking (i.e. combining of multiple genes) in order to further improve product efficacy.
“We are very pleased by both the results achieved to date with respect to soybean cyst nematode resistance and our continuing and expanding relationship with Syngenta, and are confident that the combination of our discovery capabilities and Syngenta’s development expertise will result in novel paths to address this devastating pest,” said Ofer Haviv, President and CEO of Evogene. “The agreement extension is an important addition to our growing activities in addressing biotic stress conditions, such as nematodes and other plant parasites, where Evogene has built significant capabilities for identifying novel genes to combat the variety of acute biotic stresses affecting the world’s key crops.”
Under both the original agreement and the extension, Evogene is entitled to receive research payments, success-based milestone payments and future royalty payments based on the sale of resulting products by Syngenta.
Evogene is a plant genomics company, utilizing a proprietary integrated technology infrastructure to enhance seed traits underlying crop productivity. Evogene offers a complete solution for crop productivity improvement through biotechnology and advanced breeding using a unique technology infrastructure that is based on deep scientific understandings of plant genomics and proprietary computational capabilities. 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), in key crops as corn, soybean, wheat and rice. In addition, Evogene has earlier stage operations in agriculture chemicals, and seeds focusing on second generation feedstock for biodiesel.