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ESCAGENETICS SIGNS COLLABORATION WITH GENENCOR TO SCALE-UP TAXOL PRODUCTION

 SAN CARLOS, Calif., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- ESCAgenetics Corp. (AMEX: ESN) today announced it has entered into an agreement to scale-up Taxol production through its proprietary plant cell tissue culture process in a collaboration with Genencor International Inc. The collaboration involves ESCAgenetics working with the staff at Genencor's advanced development production facility in Rochester, N.Y. to begin the scale-up process, which is expected to lead to commercial production of Taxol in 1994. The ESCAgenetics system employs a fermentation process using yew tree cells to produce Taxol, analogous to animal or microbial fermentations used to produce many other pharmaceutical products.
 "Taxol produced by ESCAgenetics' plant cell tissue culture process offers an early, lower-cost uniform supply alternative to Taxol obtained from the bark of the endangered Pacific yew," said Dr. Moshy, president and chief executive officer of ESCAgenetics. "Additionally, ESCAgenetics' process has produced new taxanes as well as intermediates such as baccatin.
 "This alliance brings together two dynamic technologies which bodes well for the commercial production of Taxol," according to Moshy. "Genencor is a leader in fermentation technology, while ESCAgenetics is an acknowledged leader in plant cell tissue culture and chemical genetics technology. This collaboration in Genencor's facility will allow ESCAgenetics to accomplish its goals of scaling up Taxol production in stages to 30,000 liter vessels, as well as confirming the cost-effectiveness of ESCAgenetics' plant cell tissue culture Taxol."
 "To assist ESCAgenetics with getting their Taxol to market, considering the current supply situation, should be very rewarding. This also leverages our expertise in large-scale production systems," said W. Thomas Mitchell, president and chief executive officer of Genencor.
 Genencor International Inc., a joint venture of Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE: EK) and Cultor Ltd. of Finland, is headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., and is one of the world's leading biotechnology companies. In addition to supplying a broad range of industrial enzymes, Genencor has collaborated with other firms taking an array of products from R&D to large-volume production, including enzymes for making glycoproteins and a biological soil innoculum.
 Taxol recently received FDA approval for the treatment of ovarian cancer in women whose first-line or subsequent chemotherapy has failed. Approximately 21,000 women suffer from ovarian cancer resulting in approximately 13,000 deaths each year. Taxol has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of breast cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer, as well as refractory ovarian cancer. Currently, Taxol is derived only from the bark of the endangered Pacific yew tree and, as such, has been considered controversial.
 Consequently, ESCAgenetics has developed its plant cell tissue culture Taxol process as an early entry, lower-cost alternative to bark Taxol and also to other methods under development such as a semi- synthetic process to produce Taxol from intermediates extracted from yew needles. The company expects to be a supplier of Taxol on a global basis.
 ESCAgenetics Corp. is a publicly traded company that develops and produces high-value, plant-derived products for the pharmaceutical and food processing industries.
 -0- 1/19/93
 /CONTACT: Raymond Moshy, president and chief executive officer of ESCAgenetics, 415-595-5335; or Edward R. Robinson of Genencor, 716-256-5210; or John Smith of Hill and Knowlton, 617-894-3100, for ESCAgenetics Corp./
 (ESN EK)


CO: ESCAgenetics Corp.; Genencor International Inc. ST: California, New York IN: MTC SU:

SG-GT -- SF004R -- 6364 01/19/93 12:46 EST
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Date:Jan 19, 1993
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