MONHEIM, Germany -- Bayer CropScience AG and Plant Health Care Inc. have entered into an agreement of up to 10 years to develop new seed treatment solutions based on Plant Health Care's Myconate technology in combination with Bayer CropScience's seed treatment products. The agreement enables Bayer CropScience to develop and commercialize new seed treatment solutions.

Plant Health Care will receive an undisclosed up-front payment, two milestone payments, dependent on the progress of the development, over the next two years and supply payments. The companies believe that Myconate enhanced seed treatment products could be available to growers as early as 2009, subject to regulatory approvals. The contract was signed Jan. 16.

In the seed treatment segment, Bayer CropScience offers a broad portfolio of high-quality products to combat pests and fungal diseases. Plant Health Care's Myconate technology is known to help crops to develop larger root mass through the stimulation of naturally occurring mycorrhizal fungi, which in turn often leads to improved yields and enhanced stress resistance. Both companies will collaborate on the further development of Myconate as a seed treatment product in corn, soybean, cotton and sunflower on a worldwide basis.

"We are pleased to have secured the exclusive rights for the development of Myconate," said Gerhard Simons, head of the Business Unit Seed Treatment within Bayer CropScience. "This agreement underlines Bayer CropScience's strong commitment to enhance plant health and to ensure the quality and quantity of yields. In addition, Myconate shows an excellent strategic fit within our R&D pipeline and represents an exciting opportunity to further expand and extend the range of seed treatment products and services Bayer CropScience offers to its customers."

Commenting on the agreement, Greg Lewis, managing director of Plant Health Care said: "Bayer CropScience is the innovation leader and the world's No. 1 provider of seed treatment solutions, and we are delighted to be working together to develop Myconate."

John Brady, CEO of Plant Health Care, said: "This agreement represents a significant step forward in the development of our company and provides the ideal first platform for Myconate. The cooperation with Bayer CropScience validates the confidence that the Board of Plant Health Care has had in the Myconate technology. We see a very attractive market potential for Myconate enhanced crop protection products, with a total target acreage of some 200 million acres globally."

Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 5.9 billion in 2005, is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of about 19,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries.

Plant Health Care plc is a leading provider of natural products for plants and soil. Established in 1995 in Pittsburgh, Pa., PHC currently has approximately 70 employees and has operations in the US, Mexico, UK, Spain, and the Netherlands. PHC's products are aimed at the landscape, agriculture and land reclamation industries and are environmentally beneficial. Through the commercialization of these products, PHC is capitalizing on current long-term trends toward natural systems and biological products for plant care and soil and water management.

SOURCE: Bayer CropScience news release.