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Icon Genetics Announces Grant from German Ministry to Develop Line Conversion Technology for Wheat and Rape Seed.

Business Editors, Health/Medical Writers

MUNICH, Germany--(BW HealthWire)--May 30, 2001

Icon Genetics AG (ICON) announced today award of a DM 6.5 million matching grant from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Berlin to develop prototypes of its proprietary line conversion technology for two most important European crops: wheat and rape seed.

The research and development under the project will be done in close collaboration with the Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben (IPK). The financing comes as a three-year grant under Ministry's InnoPlanta/InnoRegio funding program.

ICON's technology is based on DNA encoded instructions specifying gene recombination, gene transformation methods and plant hybridization techniques. It provides up to 50% shorter variety development time for genetically modified crops; significantly improved biosafety; freedom to operate in most major crops; the ability to handle the logistics of breeding multiple transgenes, crops, varieties, and lines, and multiple user needs.

During previous years, ICON, through the collaboration with International Institute of Cell Biology, Kiev, Ukraine has invented, prototyped the technology and filed for a broad patent protection.

The grant will be leveraged through ICON's own funds and will enable ICON, together with IPK, to rapidly generate over 50 man-years worth of development in identified area, to develop first working prototypes of Transgene Operating Systems(R) for wheat and rape seed, to file critical patents, as well as to be first to market, and to gain and maintain the position of market leader.

"The grant allows us to choose a much more aggressive development program. It also gives us an opportunity to significantly strengthen our relationship with the Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, one of the best world centers for plant genetics. Unique expertise of the Institute's scientists in plant hybridization is essential for the success of the project", said Dr. Yuri Gleba, CEO.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Wobus, IPK's Acting Director said: "The project is another example of the extensive collaborative research IPK is carrying out with young biotech companies. Icon with its subsidiary in nearby Halle is a welcome partner who also strengthens the regional competence in plant biotechnology."

This is the fifth major grant ICON received from the governments of Germany, Bavaria and the U.S. in less than 2 years. The total amount of matching grant support secured by ICON to date is over DM 14.0 million, most of it to be provided within next three years.

About Icon Genetics AG

Icon Genetics is an integrated platform technology provider developing proprietary technologies with application to a broad range of agricultural and pharmaceutical biotechnology products. As agricultural biotechnology enters the post-genomic era, Icon is developing enabling tools and platform technologies for rapid introduction of genes into commercial varieties and for genomics applications. Icon's technology is expected to displace current imperfect first-generation products by providing integrated suites of technologies (Transgene Operating Systems(R)) that will bring the speed and efficiency of crop engineering up to that of gene discovery. Corporate offices are headquartered in Munich, Germany and the Company's research divisions are located in Halle, Germany; Freising, Germany; and Princeton, New Jersey, USA. For more information about Icon Genetics AG, please contact Dr. Yuri Gleba, CEO (+49-345-555-9887) or Dr. Newell Bascomb, President (+1-973-686-0212), visit the Company's website at www.icongenetics.com.

About The Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research

The Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research was founded on January 1, 1992. It is a member of the Scientific Association Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz e. V. Its forerunner was the (Zentral-)Institut fur Genetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung of the GDR, originally the Institut fur Kulturpflanzenforschung of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft, founded in 1943 by Hans Stubbe near Vienna. The objective of the Institute is to carry out basic and applied research on crop plants with special emphasis on genetics. Institute's research focuses on structure, function and evolution of genomes as well as on conservation and evaluation of the genetic diversity of crop plants, of their progenitors and relatives. For more information about IPK, visit the Institute's website at: www.ipk-gatersleben.de.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 30, 2001
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