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ECOGEN ISSUED PATENTS ON BT INSECTICIDAL GENE AND BT SCREENING METHOD; PATENTS REFLECT STRENGTHS OF ECOGEN'S PROVEN TECHNOLOGY

ECOGEN ISSUED PATENTS ON BT INSECTICIDAL GENE AND BT SCREENING METHOD;
 PATENTS REFLECT STRENGTHS OF ECOGEN'S PROVEN TECHNOLOGY
 LANGHORNE, Pa., Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Ecogen Inc. (NASDAQ: EECN) announced today the issuance of U.S. patent No. 5,073,632 covering a novel Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin gene which produces a protein, CryIIB, that is useful for the control of caterpillar insects such as the corn earworm, gypsy moth and cabbage looper. Caterpillars cause millions of dollars of damage each year to vegetables, field crops such as corn, cotton and soybeans, and forests.
 The patented gene was isolated and characterized by the company's scientists with funding from the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Prutech Research and Development Partnership II. The technology is owned by Prutech and is licensed exclusively to Ecogen.
 By first isolating novel Bt strains, Ecogen identifies unique insecticidal activities against specific pests and uses recombinant genetic technology to characterize the toxin genes responsible for the insecticidal activity.
 The patented gene, isolated from a Bt strain, produces a natural protein with no known toxicity to humans, animals or plants. Insects ingest the Bt protein as they feed on agricultural crops treated with the Bt product. The protein arrests the pests' feeding, and they subsequently die, reducing damage to the crop.
 In addition to the patent for the CryIIB gene, another patent was granted to Ecogen recently. On Dec. 10, 1991, Ecogen was issued U.S. patent No. 5,071,654. This patent covers a method of screening Bt proteins for relative insecticidal potency.
 Dr. John L. McIntyre, Ecogen's vice president of commercial development, stated, "The CryIIB protein made by our patented gene is structurally different from proteins in many of the Bt formulations currently on the market, and may be useful in combination with other Bt proteins in minimizing the potential for Bt resistance. In addition, the issuance of Ecogen's screening patent enables us to better assess relative toxicities of novel Bt proteins."
 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) vegetable bioinsecticide, Foil(R) potato bioinsecticide, Condor(R) forestry and soybean bioinsecticide and Collego(R) rice bioherbicide. The company is also developing products for cotton, corn and home/garden use.
 -0- 12/20/91
 /NOTE: Cutlass, Condor, Foil and Collego are registered trademarks of Ecogen Inc./
 /CONTACT: John L. McIntyre, vice president of Ecogen, 215-757-1590; or Anthony J. Russo or Karin Eskenazi of Noonan/Russo Communications, 212-979-9180, for Ecogen; or (investors) Doug Jones of Strategic Growth International, 212-826-9622, for Ecogen/
 (EECN) CO: Ecogen, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:


TS-OS -- NY029 -- 4339 12/20/91 11:54 EST
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Date:Dec 20, 1991
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