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AXA Takes Stake in Genesis R&D Corporation Ltd.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AXA Takes Stake in New Zealand Biotechnology Company Invests $3.5 million in Genesis Research and Development Corporation Limited

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - 19 April 2000 - Leading institutional investor AXA Funds Management has invested $3.5 million in New Zealand biotechnology company, Genesis Research and Development Corporation Limited, acquiring a parcel of 614,035 shares at $5.70.

Dr James Watson, Founder and CEO of Genesis, says the transaction is evidence of the growing interest from institutional investors in discovery-based biotechnology organisations with the ability to deliver a range of products with exciting commercial potential.

"We're very pleased to be an investor in Genesis, which we believe has an excellent long-term growth outlook in a sector which offers many diversified opportunities," says Andrew Bascand, New Zealand Equity Manager for AXA Funds Management. "We believe the near term horizon for Genesis is excellent and we look forward to participating in the company's growth as it moves into the next phase of its development."

Dr Watson says the investment represents a major step forward for the company and is a clear vote of confidence in the strength of its research and development programme and the value inherent in its pipeline of products. "We are delighted to have AXA on board. As we move forward we plan to secure greater value from our scientific programme to consolidate and build on the growing interest from the investment community."

About Genesis Genesis is a biotechnology company based in Auckland, New Zealand, with genomic programmes in human health, forestry and agriculture. Genesis builds EST databases that provide the genomic platform for discovery of novel genes with commercial value and has considerable experience and expertise in high-throughput DNA sequencing, functional genomics and development of therapeutics. Partnerships with biopharmaceutical, agricultural and forestry companies have been important for funding research to effectively develop potential products. In addition to the extensive forestry gene technology, Genesis has a psoriasis therapeutic, PVACTM, in FDA-approved Phase II clinical trials in partnership with the US-based Corixa Corporation, and clinical trials for an asthma therapeutic in Wellington, New Zealand are being planned. ENDS

For further information, please call: James Watson, Chief Executive, Genesis Research & Development Corporation, Tel: +64 9 373 5600, j.watson@genesis.co.nz

Allan Botica, Botica Conroy & Associates, Tel: +64 21 400 5000, allanb@bca.co.nz

Mary Berendsen Botica Conroy & Associates PO Box 3932 Auckland - New Zealand ph: 0064 9 303 3862 fx: 0064 9 303 3610 maryb@bca.co.nz


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