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ECOGEN PATENTS GENE TO CONTROL TWO MAJOR AGRICULTURAL PESTS; NATURAL INSECTICIDE DISCOVERED FOR CORN ROOTWORM AND WHITE GRUB

 LANGHORNE, Pa., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Ecogen Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: EECN) today announced it has been issued U.S. patent No. 5,264,364 for a novel Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene that produces a protein that controls both corn rootworms and white grubs, two of the agricultural community's most damaging pests. The patent covers both the gene, which produces an insecticide crystal protein, and the Bt strains which contain the gene.
 "This patent demonstrates our continuing efforts to develop environmentally sound agricultural products using microorganisms that possess naturally occurring pesticidal activities," said John L. McIntyre, Ecogen's Vice President for Business Development and International Distribution. "White grubs are one of the most significant turf pests in the United States, and corn rootworms provide the largest market for the use of chemical insecticides in the United States, over $140 million annually. We believe there is a significant opportunity for a Bt product to control corn rootworms as there are currently no alternative biorational products in this market. This patent for a gene controlling these insect pests is a key addition to our line of patents for Bt-based products."
 The insecticidal crystal protein produced by the patented Bt gene (CryIIIB3) controls the corn rootworm and white grub by arresting these insects' digestive activities after they eat the protein on crops that have been either treated with the Bt product or genetically engineered to express the Bt protein. As such, this naturally occurring protein reduces the damage to the treated crops while causing no harm to humans, animals or plants.
 Ecogen Inc. is an agricultural biotechnology company specializing in biological pest control. Ecogen has developed and is marketing a number of novel and proprietary biopesticides, including Cutlass(R) bioinsecticide for vegetables, and tree, nut and vine crops, Condor(R) bioinsecticide for row crops, Condor(R) G for corn, Foil(R) BFC potato bioinsecticide, nematode-based Otinem(R) bioinsecticide and pheromone-based BeeScent(TM) and NoMate(R) products. The Company is also developing additional biopesticides for corn and other vegetable and fruit crops, for home/garden and ornamental use as well as biofungicide products for the control of powdery mildew and post harvest rot diseases.
 Cutlass, Condor, Foil, Otinem, Bee-Scent and NoMate are trademarks of Ecogen Inc.
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 /CONTACT: John L McIntyre, vice president - business development and international distribution of Ecogen, 215-757-1590; or (investors) Donald C. Weinberger of Strategic Growth International, 212-826-9622; or (media) Anthony J. Russo, Ph.D., of Noonan/Russo Communications, 212-696-4455, ext. 202/
 (EECN)


CO: Ecogen Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:

SH-MP -- NY007 -- 0031 01/07/94 08:31 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 7, 1994
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