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Syngenta Takes 18 Percent Stake in Diversa in Plant Research Alliance

NEW YORK, Dec. 4-Syngenta and Diversa are launching a major plant and biopharmaceutical research alliance, the two companies said today. In the deal, Syngenta will take a significant equity stake in Diversa, which in return is granted broad access to the company's post-genomic tools and technologies.


Under the agreement, the two companies will combine research in plant genomics, antibody generation, and other biopharmaceutical projects.


Syngenta has signed a 7-year, $118 million research contract with Diversa, which will direct this funding toward research for the agbiotech giant. As part of the deal, Diversa will get milestone payments and royalties on products developed.


Pending shareholder approval, Syngenta will also take an 18 percent ownership stake in Diversa, which will receive an exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual license to Syngenta proteomic, metabolomic, RNA dynamic, fungal technology and bioinformatic intellectual property. Syngenta will receive stock representing 14 percent of Diversa's outstanding stock pro forma. The company will also receive warrants that will be exercisable for $22 in 2008.


Additionally, Syngenta will move its plant genomics work from the Torrey Mesa Research Institute in San Diego to its properties in Research Triangle Park, NC. The company said that "the majority" of employees will probably be transferred to this facility or to Diversa.


The companies expect to complete this transaction in early 2003.

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