GENT-ZWIJNAARDE, BELGIUM -- GHENT, Belgium, and ST. LOUIS -- Devgen N.V. and Monsanto Company have entered into a five-year R&D agreement and a five-year technology exchange agreement.

These agreements enable the parties to identify potential product candidates derived from technologies being developed by both companies.

Monsanto and Devgen worked together under an earlier R&D collaboration signed in 2004. The new R&D agreement commits additional funding from Monsanto for Devgen's research and is coupled with an agreement which will broaden the relationship so that both companies can explore technology applications in their crop areas of interest.

Devgen will leverage Monsanto's work in rice and small cereal grains, especially in Asia. Monsanto intends to initially leverage Devgen's technologies to its core crops of interest such as corn, cotton and soybeans.

"This arrangement allows us to broaden our efforts based on Devgen's innovative gene regulation technology for application across broad platforms," said Robert T. Fraley, Ph.D., Monsanto executive vice president and chief technology officer. "We're excited about the opportunities this arrangement can bring to bolster our R&D efforts in the areas of insect and disease control, and longer term, to create opportunities for increasing crop yield and food quality."

Pierre Hochuli, chairman of Devgen, "Due to Monsanto's leading position in the seed business and its product development expertise, this arrangement provides Devgen with the fastest and most powerful pathway to introduce its technology into large U.S. commodity crops."

Thierry Bogaert, CEO of Devgen, said, "Devgen's access to Monsanto's technology portfolio for applications in rice significantly enhances our capabilities to build a high-value, hybrid rice business in the increasingly important Asian markets."

The technology exchange will allow both companies to share the advancements the other has made, and will be making, during the five-year period. Additional details of the agreements were not disclosed.

Devgen is an innovator in biotechnology focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel solutions is developed on a platform of in-house designed research, development programs and technologies. Devgen has partnerships with industry leaders in biotechnology and agro chemistry. Incorporated in 1997, Devgen has offices in Ghent (Belgium) and Singapore, with a total work force of more than 100 people.

Monsanto Company, with headquarters in St. Louis, is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality.

SOURCE: Devgen via Market Wire.