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Genesis And Wrightson Establish Strategic Alliance

Genesis And Wrightson Establish Strategic Alliance To Jointly Develop New Agricultural Products

Auckland 7 September, 2000 - Genesis Research and Development Corporation Limited and Wrightson Limited (NZSE: WRI) today announced a strategic alliance to work together on new applications for commercial biotechnology in developing better agricultural products.

The two companies have agreed to form a long-term research and development partnership combining Genesis’s strengths in genomic discovery with Wrightson’s ability to create and deliver solutions for New Zealand farmers.

Under the agreement, the firms will undertake genomic research into pasture grasses, focusing first on specialised DNA databases for two new generation Wrightson ryegrass varieties in an effort to develop improved regimes for pasture management and increased agricultural productivity.

Independent research on the relative performance of feed grasses indicates significant potential to increase per-hectare productivity through improved pasture quality and management. Live weight gains of 30-40 percent have already been achieved in cattle and sheep through feed selection, using Wrightson varieties.

Building on this type of work, Genesis and Wrightson will identify the genomic characteristics of grasses with desirable traits and work together to commercialise these discoveries of new high animal productivity forage grasses through breeding programmes.

“The work we plan to undertake aims to identify desirable gene traits that can be accelerated through natural breeding. There is no current plan for work on genetic modification. If a decision were taken later to engage in work in that area, it would be in accordance with the outcomes of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, says Genesis CEO Dr Jim Watson.

In terms of commercial products, Genesis will use its expertise to mine these specialised databases for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical leads.

Wrightson and Genesis will jointly own the intellectual property developed through this partnership.

“This alliance is about enhancing agricultural methods by developing innovative plant products that will improve productivity for New Zealand farmers,” says Dr Watson. “The agreement will see Genesis take a position and build capability in a primary industry that combines our expertise in gene discovery with Wrightson’s strengths in product development, marketing and distribution.

“The agreement is an extension of the work we have done in dairy and horticulture. It is a combination of using genomic technologies to identify desirable traits and develop future seeds, and also using the basic databases to diversify commercial outlets in non-traditional areas for the seed industry such as human health products.”

Allan Freeth, CEO of Wrightson, says the partnership has enormous potential because it involves co-operation between agricultural, farming and business expertise, with a leading science and technology base.

“Bringing together these areas of expertise and research interests has exciting implications for New Zealand agriculture. There is a major opportunity for us to use our combined expertise to develop improved solutions for farmer and grower clients.”

“We see biotechnology as key to the future of New Zealand agriculture. Our partnership with Genesis, along with other strategic alliances and partnerships we will develop, will make a major contribution to our ability to deliver innovative and effective solutions for our customers,” Dr Freeth says.
Wrightson expects that the alliance will lead to the development of more effective and efficient breeding programmes, and to greater ownership and leverage of intellectual property. Both companies expect the alliance will be a precursor to several other collaborations concerning key plants and animals in agriculture.
Wrightson’s increasing emphasis on delivering solutions to its clients involves consideration of customer needs and rethinking the product and service combinations that will improve their productivity. The increased solutions focus means the company is putting more emphasis on researching new products.

“Our strategy is to build from our traditional businesses, the ingredients and intellectual property to deliver agricultural solutions for our clients worldwide,” says Dr Freeth. “In our view agriculture and other primary industries will make a significant contribution to the development of New Zealand’s knowledge economy. The alliance we have formed with Genesis reflects our aim to take a leading role.

“Genesis is focused on research and development,” says Dr Watson. “We partner with industry leaders like Wrightson to develop and commercialise our discoveries and to generate returns from such arrangements by way of milestone payments and royalties.

“In a broader context, this agreement is also about the potential contribution that new agricultural discoveries can make to the New Zealand economy, both directly, in terms of New Zealand agricultural productivity and in the export of pasture grasses with traits sought by international markets.”

Application has been made to the New Zealand Stock Exchange for permission to quote the shares and for the listing of Genesis Research and Development Corporation Limited. All the requirements of the NZSE in respect of such quotation and listing that can be complied with on or before the date of the publication of this announcement have been duly complied with. However, the NZSE accepts no responsibility for any statement in this announcement.

The offer of Genesis shares is contained in the investment statement and prospectus. Anyone wishing to apply for shares in the offer will need to complete the application form that accompanies the investment statement and prospectus.
ENDS


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