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ESCAGENETICS FORMS PHYTOPHARMACEUTICALS TO DEVELOP PLANT-BASED PHARMACEUTICALS; MACMASTER APPOINTED CHAIRMAN, CEO

 ESCAGENETICS FORMS PHYTOPHARMACEUTICALS TO DEVELOP
 PLANT-BASED PHARMACEUTICALS; MACMASTER APPOINTED CHAIRMAN, CEO
 SAN CARLOS, Calif., July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- ESCAgenetics Corp. (AMEX: ESN) today announced that it has formed a subsidiary, PhytoPharmaceuticals Inc. to develop pharmaceuticals based on the discovery of new compounds from plant resources. Research and development programs at the new company will be designed to integrate expertise in plant cell biology and medicinal chemistry with receptor screening technologies as well as tissue culture processes building on ESCAgenetics' work with the anti-cancer drug Taxol. PhytoPharmaceuticals Inc. is continuing ESCAgenetics' efforts to scale up production of Taxol and become a supplier of this promising drug. PhytoPharmaceuticals Inc. is also currently in the process of establishing strategic international collaborations to provide plant resources for pharmaceutical development.
 In related announcements, Douglas J. MacMaster, Jr., former senior vice president of Merck & Co. Inc. and a director of ESCAgenetics, has been elected as PhytoPharmaceuticals' chairman and chief executive officer. Raymond J. Moshy, Ph.D., president and CEO of ESCAgenetics, has been appointed director and chairman of the executive committee of PhytoPharmaceuticals. Also named to the position of director of PhytoPharmaceuticals are A.M. MacKinnon, former president and COO of Ciba-Geigy Corp.; William J. Koenig, executive vice president and chief financial officer of ESCAgenetics; and William R. Sharp, Ph.D., vice president, pharmaceuticals, ESCAgenetics.
 "With the formation of PhytoPharmaceuticals, we are able to harness our extensive expertise in agricultural science, as well as leverage technologies from our PhytoPharmaceuticals Division," said Moshy. "While the new company's first commercial product will be Taxol, we will target other plant-derived organic compounds that address a wide range of diseases."
 ESCAgenetics Corp. is a publicly held company that develops and produces high-value, plant-derived products for the pharmaceutical and food processing industries. ESCAgenetics established its PhytoPharmaceuticals Division in 1991 to focus its proprietary cell culture technology on the research and development of pharmaceuticals. In June 1991, the company announced that it had successfully produced Taxol. To investigate the feasibility of scale-up and economic production of Taxol, ESCAgenetics was awarded a grant from the National Cancer Institute in September 1991. In addition, in February 1992, the company completed a $6.75 million private financing primarily to support expansion of its pharmaceutical programs.
 -0- 7/15/92
 /CONTACT: Raymond J. Moshy of ESCAgenetics, 415-595-5335; or Karen Bergman of Burns McClellan, 212-545-1919, for ESCAgenetics/
 (ESN) CO: ESCAgenetics ST: California IN: MTC SU: PER PDT


RM-DG -- SF002 -- 9366 07/15/92 08:01 EDT
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Date:Jul 15, 1992
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