BASF and ORYZON GENOMICS Announce an Agreement of Technological Collaboration in the Phytosanitary Area

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The German agrochemical multinational BASF and the Catalan biotechnological ORYZON GENOMICS, S.A. announced today an agreement of collaboration that will allow BASF to improve its advances in technological innovation on phytosanitary products. The agreement, the economical terms of which have not been revealed, will give access to BASF to the gene function discovery platform and particularly to custom DNA chips and related bioinformatics solutions developed by Oryzon in order to improve its advanced phytosanitary products for several kinds of crops.

Josef Appel, chief of BASF’s Agro Business division in Spain in Portugal, declared: “Our vision of the phytosanitary business is based on keeping on being leaders in innovation, helping to optimize the agricultural production and improving the quality of life of a continuously growing world population. Among our main objectives you can find the development of new technologies and its use in order to take advantage of the new opportunities present in the market, combining the economical success with the preservation of the environment. Our plan consists in releasing 10 new active compounds in the phystosanitary area in the next years in Spain mainly targeting the insecticide and fungicide market for horticultural and grapevine crops.

BASF does not only concentrate its efforts in the research for new active compounds, but also has an active presence in the biotechnological research area trying to develop innovative products of 1st and 2nd generation. In this area the possibilities of collaboration with companies such as Oryzon facilitate the achievement of our goals and are an example of our compromise with the Spanish research.”

Carlos Buesa, chief executive officer of Oryzon noted: “last advances in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics open a new frame in the detection of genes implicated in the plant response processes against their pathogens and in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms that help in the defensive response, and in this sense be able to progress in the design of new phytosanitary products. Our agreement with BASF can be placed in the cooperation model with leading companies from the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and food areas chosen by Oryzon. BASF is to us an allied of special importance since it represents the first agreement with a multinational and thus gives us international visibility”.

BASF is the leading chemical company worldwide: “The Chemical Company”. Owner of a portfolio that contains from chemical compounds, fine chemistry, plastics and phitosanitary products to natural gas and petroleum, BASF is a potential partner for nearly any knid of industry. Solutions and products provided by BASF help our clients to achieve higher successes. In 2004 BASF approximately developed 82,000 collaborations all around the world, with global sales of more than 37 billion €. BASF shares quote in Frankfurt(BAS), London(BFA), New York(BF), Paris(BA), and Zurich(AN).

In the Agricultural Protection business, since the integration in 2000 of American Home Products filial company “American Cyanamid”, BASF has become one of the world’s main companies in this sector, producing and commercializing products that target nearly any agricultural market of the world and strongly investing in R+D for new agricultural solutions.

ORYZON GENOMICS, S.A. (http://www.oryzon.com) is a functional genomics company that possesses a business model based on the gene discovery, which consists in the application of massive research methods on gene function of a given organism in order to patent the genetic applications developed. Oryzon has applied for 3 new patents related to these research methods in 2004.

Oryzon’s New Developments in Molecular Biology division applies state-of-the-art techniques in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics that allow the company to firmly place itself in the colon and lung cancer research area, and in Alzheimer’s and Lewy body’s diseases in neurodegeneration research area. Oryzon holds strong alliances with the Spanish pharmacological industry and European hospitals of reference. Its new technologies on gene discovery allow the creation of new non – GMO (genetically modified organisms) plant varieties, area of research where Oryzon is building a network of strategic alliances with several leading companies.

Oryzon was born in 2000 as a spin-off of the University of Barcelona and IBMB-CSIC. It is placed at the Scientific Park of Barcelona, and after a fast initial expansion process it currently employs 31 researchers. Initially it was funded the venture capital company NAJETI CAPITAL, SCR, S.A., and later on also got financial support from ENVISA and CDTI, that strengthened its presence in the biomedical research internationally. With a business volume of 1.8 million euros the company got its first benefits in 2004.

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Carlos Buesa Arjol
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