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Celera Makes Deals with French Ag Companies; Pharmacia Licenses Tools

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ROCKVILLE, Md.--Celera Genomics announced that Celera AgGen, its agricultural business, has formed a three-year agreement with RhoBio, a joint venture between Rhone Poulenc Agro and Biogemma, to use expression studies to discover genes related to traits of importance in maize. AgGen, formerly a part of Perkin-Elmer's Biosystems division, was adopted by Perkin-Elmer's Celera business unit in January. AgGen will receive royalties from RhoBio resulting from sales of any products developed through this research-based alliance.

In a separate development, Celera announced that AgGen has acquired 49 percent of the equity of Agrogene, an agricultural DNA testing laboratory in Moissy-Cramayel, France. This investment will enable AgGen to extend its automated DNA sequencing and genotyping services to European agricultural markets.

Craig Venter, president of Celera, called the developments "important steps in our strategy to provide gene expression profiling, gene discovery, and DNA sequencing services to the important field of agricultural genomics."

Celera also announced a five-year agreement with Pharmacia and Upjohn in which the pharmaceutical company will gain early access to several databases and bioinformatics tools that Celera plans to create. Databases that Celera said it is developing include a human gene index, a Drosophila genome database, and a human genome database. Associated bioinformatics tools will enable viewing, browsing, and analysis of genomic information.

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