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Evogene and TMG Announce Collaboration to Develop Nematode Resistant Soybean through Genome Editing

December 18, 2018

REHOVOT, Israel & CAMBÉ, Brazil, Dec. 18, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Evogene Ltd. (NASDAQ, TASE: EVGN), a leading biotechnology company developing novel products for life science markets & TMG - Tropical Melhoramento & Genética S/A, a leading plant breeding company aiming to develop genetic solutions to delivery yield and profit to growers and collaborate to meet the world demand for grains and fibers; announced today a collaboration for the development of non-GMO nematode resistant soybean utilizing genome editing technologies on TMG’s commercial soybean lines.

Pursuant to the collaboration, Evogene will utilize its CPB (Computational Predictive Biology) platform to identify the required genome edits to attribute nematode resistance in soybean and will perform such edits on TMG’s proprietary commercial soybean germplasm. TMG will validate the efficacy of the edited soybeans in greenhouse assays and in field trials in Brazil and will incorporate the edited genes in TMG breeding pipeline. TMG is one of the largest soybean breeding companies in Brazil, with its proprietary germplasm planted across four million hectares throughout South America.

The agreement provides commercialization rights for the resulting products by both parties, subject to royalty payments made by each to the other party on its product sales. In addition, Evogene will receive an undisclosed down-payment and will be entitled to a development milestone payment.

Plant parasite nematode is one of the most devastating and yield reducing pests affecting agriculture today, accounting for almost $100 billion in crop damages annually1. 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 annually2.

Dr. Arnon Heyman, Evogene VP and GM, Ag-Seeds stated: “I am very pleased with the initiation of this collaboration with TMG, a leading breeding company in South America, to develop nematode resistant soy, utilizing the latest technologies available. This collaboration may allow us to bring to market non-GMO seed traits in soy, utilizing genome editing, and potentially avoiding regulatory hurdles. Moreover, this is the first time that Evogene will be able to commercialize edited seeds independently, allowing us to approach relevant parties after a successful validation process. We look forward to updating you as this new collaboration develops.”

Dr. Alexandre Garcia, TMG Research Manager, said: “This new collaboration will revolutionize the market for nematode resistance in soybeans. Evogene has long expertise and state of the art technology for trait discovery and now is expanding its genome edit platform. TMG is committed to use non-GMO approaches to improve resistance to pests and diseases and is the leading company in the development of soybean cultivars with native genetic resistance to multiple races of Soybean Cyst Nematode. The opportunity to combine what Evogene and TMG do best is very promising and is expected to bring excellent results to soybean growers around the world.”

About Genome Editing:

Genome editing technologies present a key scientific tool that can deliver breakthroughs in agriculture by making precisely targeted modifications in a cell’s DNA. Currently, the regulatory requirements of genome editing are more lenient in comparison to transgenic modification, which could ease access to market.

About Evogene Ltd.:

Evogene (NASDAQ, TASE: EVGN) is a leading biotechnology company developing novel products for major life science markets through the use of a unique computational predictive biology (CPB) platform incorporating deep scientific understandings and cutting-edge computational technologies. Today, this platform is utilized by the Company and its subsidiaries to discover and develop innovative products in the following areas: ag-chemicals, ag-biologicals, seed traits, integrated castor oil ag-solutions and human microbiome-based therapeutics. Each subsidiary or division establishes its product pipeline and go-to-market, as demonstrated in its collaborations with world-leading companies such as BASF, Corteva, Bayer and ICL. For more information, please visit www.evogene.com

About TMG:

TMG (Tropical Melhoramento & Genética S/A) is an independent soybean, cotton and corn breeding company based in Brazil, with state-of-the-art facilities that enable rapid development of new cultivars adapted to different locations in the globe. TMG is focused on developing high yielding cultivars with genetic technologies that improve plant health and profitability to the farmer. TMG was the first company to launch soybean cultivars with the Inox Technology®, which incorporates genetic resistance to Asian Soybean Rust. TMG was also the first company to register a soybean cultivar with resistance to all known races of soybean cyst nematode. These innovations address a larger number of benefits in the field and help lower production costs. To learn more about the company and its cultivars, access www.tmg.agr.br.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” relating to future events. These statements may be identified by words such as “may”, “could”, “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 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:Nir Zalik IR/PR ManagerE: IR@evogene.comT: (+972)-8-931-1963

US Investor RelationsVivian Cervantes PCG AdvisoryE: vivian@pcgadvisory.comT: 646-863-6274

1 https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2016/may/nematode/

2 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161006181217.htm

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