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ESCAGENETICS RECEIVES SUPPLEMENT FUNDING FROM NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE FOR PLANT CELL TISSUE CULTURE TAXOL

 SAN CARLOS, Calif., May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- ESCAgenetics Corporation (AMEX: ESN) today announced that is has received a two-year, $190,000 supplement to its initial three-year NCI grant of $800,000 which was awarded on Sept. 30, 1991 for "Production of Taxol Through Plant Cell Tissue Culture."
 The research work for the supplement award, "Screening of Taxus Species for Taxol Production by Plant Cell Tissue Culture," will be conducted as part of a consortium effort whereby cell cultures from a diverse collection of Chinese Taxus varieties will be initiated in China and then screened by ESCAgenetics for improved taxol production in the company's plant cell culture process.
 "We have made a substantial commitment to develop a commercially viable plant cell tissue culture process to produce taxol," said Dr. Raymond J. Moshy, president and CEO of ESCAgenetics. "We are encouraged by the confidence that NCI has expressed in our taxol program by the additional funding."
 According to Dr. Moshy, "We believe that ESCAgenetics' taxol process will offer an early, lower-cost, uniform-supply alternative to taxol obtained from the bark of the Pacific yew, and also to other methods under development such as a semi-synthetic process for producing taxol from intermediates extracted from yew needles. The supplement funds will be used to screen cell cultures from a range of Taxus genotypes found in China as part of ESCAgenetics' taxol process optimization work."
 Taxol recently received FDA approval for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. Currently, taxol is derived from the bark of the endangered Pacific yew tree and, as such, has been considered controversial.
 In January, 1993, ESCAgenetics entered into a collaboration with Genencor International to scale-up taxol production through its proprietary tissue culture process which uses yew tree cells. Genencor International, Inc., a joint venture of Eastman Kodak Company and Cultor, Ltd. of Finland, is one of the world's leading biotechnology companies and has acknowledged expertise in large-scale fermentation systems. ESCAgenetics' goal is to be a supplier of taxol on a global basis.
 ESCAgenetics Corporation is a publicly traded company that develops and produces high-value, plant-derived products for the pharmaceutical and food industries.
 -0- 5/10/93
 /CONTACT: Dr. Raymond J. Moshy, president and CEO of ESCAgenetics Corporation, 415-595-5335/
 (ESN)


CO: ESCAgenetics Corporation ST: California IN: HEA SU: FNC

LD -- NY005 -- 6283 05/10/93 08:01 EDT
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Date:May 10, 1993
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