Subject: Optin Life Sciences Bulletin No.20: New Projects in PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY and TISSUE CULTURE from Israel




The Life Sciences Project Bulletin



New Projects in


Plant Biotechnology and Tissue Culture


from Israel and the Netherlands


No.20 – December 2004





1.      Plant improvement by genetic manipulation of genes encoding plant chaperones of the FKBP (FK506 binding proteins) family


2.      Chlorophyllase Gene and Recombinant Protein and Their Use in Medicine, Pharmaceutics, Agriculture and Molecular Genetic Markers


3.      Use of clean vector technology and cis-genesis for crop improvement by an accepted gmo approach


4.      Discovery of genes controlling fruit quality traits and disease resistance


5.      A Method for Preparing Transgenic Plants Resistant to Crown Gall Disease


6.      New fungi as biological acaricides and fungicides (biopesticides)


7.      Development of new  technologies for the Agro biotech industry


8.      Construction of Plants Resistant to Viral Infection  


9.      Clonal Propagation Through Somatic EmbryoGenesis in Bioreactors


10.   Transgenic Lines of Resistant Melons    





In the News


1.    Two Israelis win Nobel Chemistry prize


2.    Israelis among top innovators


3.    Evogene announces soybean collaboration with Mertec, LLC


4.    Development of Recombinant Edible Vaccines for Veterinary Purposes







1.      Israeli agro-biotechnology company FertiSeeds is offering a novel solution for production of hybrid seeds based on molecular genetic technology


2.      Programs that integrate the proprietary AFLP® and cDNA-AFLP technologies


3.      Evogene to evaluate plant-based production of Compugen therapeutic protein candidates


4.      Sigma-Aldrich Corp. conducts research and development


5.      Health-Invest: The New Dutch magazine for Life Sciences


6.      The SunGreen method for growing vegetables in a clean white environment







1.      Welcome to the Israel Bio-Tech 2005 the 4th national Conference and Exhibition


2.      EOI's for the Sixth Framework



Coming up in the next bulletins:

Advanced technologies from Israel and the Netherlands



Projects from the previous Bulletins


For more information contact Optin’s Director Drs. Jennifer Peersmann, or Optin’s Life Sciences Manager Drs. Eli Guetta

or call +31-70-3643260





Food Quality and Health

Brainstorming Workshop

Wednesday, 19th January 2005

Rabin Center for Culture and Education, The Hague, The Netherlands



Life Sciences Capital 2005


27th January 2005

Naturalis Museum of Natural History, Leiden, The Netherlands


Israel Bio-Tech 2005


The 4th National Conference and Exhibition

24-26  May 2005

David Intercontinental Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel




Health Invest


The Embassy of The Netherlands


The Embassy of Israel



MXCard: Profetional Marketing and Customer

Relations Tools


DSM Venturing


IBM Life Sciences


Tel Aviv University


Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd


Eden’s Creations/ Hoekert


Holland Biotechnology


WFIA / Israel Office Delft


Rad-Biomed Incubator






Ramot / Tel Aviv University

IRC / Senter

Yissum / The Hebrew University

BMTI / TU-Twente

Yeda / Weizmann Institute

Rad-Biomed Incubator



Bar Ilan University

Ben-Gurion University





Plant improvement by genetic manipulation of genes encoding plant chaperones of the FKBP (FK506 binding proteins) family

The research in my lab has been focused on the characterization of members of the large co-chaperone family, the FKBPs. This name is an acronym derived from the ability of these proteins to bind the immunosuppressive drug FK506 used in immunotherapy. We have found that plant FKBPs are heat stress induced and developmentally regulated. By modulating their abundance in plants we can affect various traits with importance for crop improvement. For example, over-expressing part of the FKBP gene can induce male sterility in rice and Arabidopsis, and over-expressing the full FKBP can induce resistance to pathogens and heat stress. In previous work in the lab we characterized wheat FKBPs, demonstrating that wheat plants over-expressing the FKBP germinate faster and have higher amylase activity in the seedlings. The FKBPs that we are studying bind several major cellular regulators such as Hsp90 and Calmodulin. By using recombinant DNA technologies, genetic mutants and genetically engineered plants, we expect to contribute to plant improvement in major crops such as rice and wheat, after establishing the genetic and molecular tools in Arabidopsis. Male sterility and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses are major targets for crop improvement.  Our goal is to understand the molecular basis of how the FKBP chaperones are involved in providing heat thermo-tolerance and to apply those findings to crop plants such as rice. We are interested in financial support, R&D collaboration and information exchange.


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Chlorophyllase Gene and Recombinant Protein and Their Use in Medicine, Pharmaceutics, Agriculture and Molecular Genetic Markers

During the last two decades, the utilization of photosensitizers for cancer therapy has been introduced. In this technique known as "photodynamic therapy" (PDT), singlet oxygen, oxygen radicals and superoxides or peroxides are produced by in situ photosensitization of previously applied chromophores and intoxicate the malignant cells. There has been an increasing interest in using porphyrines and in particular chlorophyll derivatives as PDT agents. The synthesis of these Chl derivatives involves a first step of enzymatic transesterification with the enzyme chlorophyllase which is presently extracted from plant chloroplasts as acetone powder along with many other protein contaminants. With the isolation of Chlase gene and the production of the recombinant protein which was shown to have high enzymatic activity, we are able to produce unlimited quantities of pure highly active recombinant Chlase for the production of Chl derivative for PDT.   There are also applications in Agriculture aimed at prevention or prolonged delay of Chl breakdown. In addition, with the Chlase gene it is possible to generate a non-lethal genetic marker for use in molecular biology, particularly for plant transformation.


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Use of clean vector technology and cis-genesis for crop improvement by an accepted gmo approach

Marker-free genetically modified crops confer several advantages over transgenic crops equipped with e.g. genes coding for antibiotic resistance. Firstly, the European Union encourages “avoiding or minimising the inclusion of superfluous transgenes or sequences” and promotes the use of clean vector systems. Secondly, stacking of genes within the same transgenic line is difficult once a selectable marker gene has been introduced. If these marker genes can be removed, the subsequent introduction of the next gene-of-interest is greatly facilitated. Hence, At Plant Research International a system has been developed for specific elimination of any introduced DNA/gene sequences using site-specific recombination combined with selection for successful removal using a negative selection system. Completely marker-free transgenic plants have been obtained using a model vector, both in an efficient transformation system (strawberry) as well as in a non-efficient transformation system (apple). Frequencies were more than adequate. Presently, a versatile vector set providing a choice of several selectable markers and carrying a multiple cloning site for receiving cassettes of the gene-of-interest is available. Further, we enhanced the expression of a native resistance gene (PGIP) in strawberry, by combining this gene with another promoter from strawberry (promoter of an expansin gene). As no gene or promoter from outside the strawberry species was left after the genetic modification, using the clean gene technology, we named the strawberry not transgenic but cisgenic. Consumer interviews indicated that cisgenic crops are more acceptable than transgenic crops to the public.


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Discovery of genes controlling fruit quality traits and disease resistance

The focus of the research of my group at Newe Ya’ar is the genetics of melon (Cucumis melo L.) and other cucurbits, with major topics being the molecular analysis of fruit ripening, the genetic mapping and the assessment of genetic variability of these crops. A genomic study is directed towards the discovery of genes controlling fruit quality traits and disease resistance. Application of these genes in cucurbits breeding and fruit quality improvement is a main goal.


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A Method for Preparing Transgenic Plants Resistant to Crown Gall Disease 

A method of preparing plants resistant to crown gall disease caused by the soil-borne bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens, based on the delivery and expression of an antitumorigenic plasmid gene. University project. Licensing sought.  The soil-borne phytopathogenic bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens induces tumors (crown galls) on more than 1000 species of dicotyledons, including many economically important plants. The most serious damage is caused in grapevine, some ornamental plants (rose, aster and chrysanthemum, to name a few), fruit trees, raspberry, etc. The pathogenicity of the bacterium is due to the presence of Ti (tumor-inducing) plasmids. During crown gall tumor induction, a specific segment (T-DNA) of the Ti-plasmid is transferred and integrated into the host-cell genome. The T-DNA possesses several onc genes which are expressed in transformed plants and are involved in phytohormone synthesis. The research team have shown that R-plasmids of the IncW and IncQ groups suppress oncogenicity of various types of A. tumefaciens strains. The minimal region of the IncQ R-plasmid RSF1010, responsible for its ability to inhibit oncogenicity of the host Agrobacterium strain, was identified. The corresponding locus of the RSF1010 plasmid was designated ita (inhibition of tumorigenicity of Agrobacterium). Based on these data, a method of preparing crown gall-resistant plants was proposed. The central idea of the method is that introduction and expression of the ita locus in plants sensitive to A. tumefaciens infection will lead to the formation of transgenes resistant to crown gall tumor formation. A working prototype is now available, consisting of transgenic lines of tobacco, tomato and aspen plants in which the ita locus of plasmid RSF1010 under the control of a eukaryotic promoter has been integrated into genomic DNA. 


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New fungi as biological acaricides and fungicides (biopesticides)

Our research team has developed a new (to science) fungus that, based on our preliminary data, has the potential of controlling both mites and powdery mildews (and perhaps also other fungal plant diseases). Advantages:  A biopesticide that concurrently controls major pest mites (spider mites and rust mites) as well as important plant diseases (powdery mildews); a new (to science) fungus that, based on our preliminary data, has the potential of controlling both mites and powdery mildews (and perhaps also other fungal plant diseases). 


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Development of new  technologies for the Agro biotech industry

An Israelis biotech company RAHAN MERISTEM from Northern of Israel works on tissue culture plants, highly selected banana clones, transgenic plans, recombinant plants and micro organisms, RT -PCR for diagnostics of plant pathogens, recombinant vaccines for veterinary purposes has developed new technologies for the Agro biotech industry. Founded in 1974 by members of Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra, with the encouragement and support of the academic community in Israel, RAHAN MERISTEM was the first operating commercial tissue culture laboratory in Israel. It was established as an extension of an existing well-recognized fruit trees nursery in Israel. Initially, RAHAN's workers developed new procedures for large scale, in-vitro, clonal propagation of over two hundred plant genera including ornamental, industrial, fruit and vegetable crops. By the mid 1980's the company focused on a smaller variety of plants, and in-vitro propagated banana plants became the leading product. Combined with the high level of pre-existing expertise of banana agrotechnology on Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra, RAHAN became a center of research and consultation for the banana industry throughout the world. A formal R&D department was established in 1991 in order to provide technical support to the different branches of the company and develop new products and technologies, as well as other technical services. The areas of expertise include molecular and classical genetics,  plant cell and tissue culture, plant biochemistry and physiology, bacteriology and industrial biotechnology. The department researchers have developed excellent working relations with the academic community in Israel as well as abroad. The interaction with the academia includes joint research projects, participation of RAHAN scientists in training of graduate students, classroom teaching and publication in scientific journals. The main R&D emphasis is banana germplasm improvement using a broad spectrum of genetic tools i.e. selection, induced mutagenesis and recombinant DNA technology. Another important  activity of R&D is directed towards improvement of industrial tissue culture technologies such as development of methods for the control of contaminating microbes, early detection and elimination of somaclonal variation, reduction of labor and fixed costs in production etc. In recent years the department has been engaged in two projects of production of medicinal products in transgenic plants. Reflecting RAHAN's international stature, a significant part of the R&D activities are carried out jointly with companies and academic institutions outside Israel.

RAHAN MERISTEM remains committed to the continuous leadership in the Agro-biotechnology industry in decades to come.

RAHAN's product base includes in-vitro and hardened dessert banana and plantain plants for the international export market,

strawberry mother plants, fruit trees for various climatic conditions i.e. date palm, citrus, olive, mango, avocado, stone

fruit and their rootstocks; mother plants and field plants for cut-flowers production, as well as plants for industrial use such

as pineapple, jojoba, sugar-cane, and others. RAHAN MERISTEM is considered to be one of the world leading

companies for the production of quality tissue culture plants having developed protocols for more than 200 plant genera over

the last 20 years. Expertise: * Plant propagation by means of tissue organ and cell culture; * Selection and breeding; * Molecular and cellular biology; * Microbiology - diagnostics and vector development. Equipment:  * Full research laboratory equipped and set up for plant and microbial biotechnology applications. * Growth room for in Vitro culture & Growth chamber (conviron).


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Construction of Plants Resistant to Viral Infection 

Introduction into plants of genes, controlling elements and other DNA structures, by means of genetic engineering technology, in order to produce virus-resistant plants. University project. Licensing sought. 

Virus-resistant transgenic plants were engineered by a research team and some of them are in the process of cloning. Three types of the cloned genes were used: (a) genes originated from viruses; (b) genes belonging to the defence system of the plants; (c) foreign genes. In the first class of genes, the team produced resistant transgenic plants expressing non-structural (non-coat protein) genes of PVY (NIa, helper component, and others) and, also, CMB resistant, coat-protein-bearing transgenic plants. In the second category, they started the cloning of the plant genes for the antiviral proteins gp22 and gp35, which were studied along many years as AVF. In the third category, they have cloned the gene for human interferon (beta and alpha) into plants. Initially, the plants seem to be protected from virus infection. Some of the transgenic plants have been patented. Resistant plants carrying various viral genes have been made and brought to a homozygous, non-segregating, stable stage. 


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Clonal Propagation Through Somatic EmbryoGenesis in Bioreactors

Our research team has developed clonal propagation of parental lines for breeding purposes, which can shorten the time required to produce seeds of desirable new hybrids for marketing, as compared to existing breeding programs. The technique of clonal propagation through somatic embryogenesis, as opposed to conventional methods, enables large-scale production and a many-fold increase in the ratio of multiplication. Clonally- propagated plants can produce uniformly superior seeds, improve progeny evaluation of breeding and show improved vigor and quality. In addition, clonal propagation can produce disease-free germplasm for international shipment, and thus decrease time-consuming labor and production expenses of hybrid seeds.


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Transgenic Lines of Resistant Melons 

A technology for the production of cucumber and melon lines, resistant to downy mildew, based on cloning of a unique protein, P45, produced in wild resistant types of melon. University project. Patent pending. Licensing / strategic partners sought. 

Downy mildew of cucurbits is one of the most serious diseases of muskmelons and cucumbers in temperate regions of the world. A unique protein, P45, was shown to be constitutively produced in wild resistant types of melon. P45 was found to be co-inherited with resistance of melon to downy mildew. Susceptible melon lines do not show the P45 protein. Transgenic melon plants overexpressing P45 show resistance to downy mildew. The present innovative technology, relates to novel nucleic acid sequences that control plant resistance to downy mildew. Cloning of P45 genes into other crops is being carried out. 


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In the News

Two Israelis win Nobel Chemistry prize

Israelis Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko and American Irwin Rose won the 2004 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Tuesday for their work in discovering ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation. Ciechanover, 57; Hershko, 67; and Irwin Rose, 78, were honored by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for their work in the 1980s that discovered one of the cell's most important cyclical processes, regulated protein degradation. "Thanks to the work of the three laureates it is now possible to understand at molecular level how the cell controls a number of central processes by breaking down certain proteins and not others," the academy said in its citation. "Examples of processes governed by ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation are cell division, DNA repair, quality control of newly-produced proteins, and important parts of the immune defense."

Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST  Oct. 6, 2004

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Israelis among top innovators

For the first time, two Israelis under 35 - one at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and the other at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot - are on the list of the world's "Top Young Innovators." The two Israelis are Dr. Kinneret Keren of the Technion and Ya'acov Benenson, a 29-year-old Weizmann Institute doctoral student. Selected from among almost 650 candidates from around the world, they will be honored, along with others on the list, at the Technology Review 2004 Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT on September 29 and 30. Benenson is also a candidate for "TR 100 Innovator of the Year" and the "TR 100 Humanitarian Award", which will be announced at the conference.

The Second Annual conference is expected to attract 1,000 participants representing business, technology and science from over 40 countries. The list is compiled by Technology Review, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's "magazine of innovation." Chosen by the magazine's editors and a panel of judges, the TR 100 consists of 100 people under the age of 35 whose innovative work in technology has a profound impact on today's world and will shape the future of the way we live and work. chemistry. This year's nominees are recognized for their contributions in transforming the nature of technology and business in industries such as biotechnology and medicine, computing, and nanotechnology.

Keren, who is in the middle of doing post-doctoral work at Stanford University in California, studied at the Technion with Prof. Erez Baron and Prof. Uri Sivan of the physics faculty. Last year, the research team succeeded in finding a way to produce the first molecular transistor made out of DNA. Reports on this pioneering development were published in the prestigious journal Science and a variety of other print media. The Jerusalem-born researcher - whose father is a mathematician, mother was a computer scientist, and three siblings are all scientists - said that work at the Technion was very demanding, but also very rewarding, "because we invented something that was completely new and did not exist before. Science is usually composed of 90 percent frustration and 10 percent celebration. When you start from an idea, you experiment and often don't succeed. But there are those rare wonderful moments when they do succeed and something new is created."

Benenson works with Prof. Ehud Shapiro of the Rehovot institute's department of computer science and applied mathematics, and its department of biological chemistry. Inspired by the world-famous Shapiro's vision of a "doctor in a cell", Benenson joined Weizmann in 1999 at age 24 and began to tackle the challenges of DNA-driven computing solutions for disease diagnosis and treatment. Benenson received the Wolf Foundation Prize for Excellence in Graduate Studies six years ago and is currently on the Dean's List of the Feinberg Graduate School at Weizmann for his achievements in PhD studies and research.

He co-invented the world's smallest biological computing device - a bio-molecular finite-state automaton made from DNA strands and DNA-manipulating enzymes. The automaton, about a trillionth the size of a drop of water, was listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest biological computing device. Recently, this device was enhanced to detect and diagnose molecular symptoms of cancer in vitro and, in response, to release a drug to treat the cancer. Benenson's breakthrough in this area of research exceeded earlier progress predictions by Shapiro and others.

Shapiro praises Benenson for being a "key innovator and leading experimentalist in the biological computer team. It is very gratifying to have his contributions acknowledged by MIT's Technology Review editors and the distinguished panel of judges for the 100 Top Young Innovators of 2004 award."

Benenson commented that "nature invented intricate molecular tools to detect and repair malfunctions in cells and organisms. Ultimately, our research may lead to the use of biomolecular computers to supplement and enhance existing natural defenses."

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, THE JERUSALEM POST  Sep. 22, 2004


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Evogene announces soybean collaboration with Mertec, LLC

Evogene Ltd. announced today an agreement with Mertec, LLC for the development and marketing of soybean seeds with improved traits. The two companies will bring newly developed traits from Evogene to the market in soybean varieties developed by Mertec. Mertec will market the co-developed soybean varieties using their strong industry channels. Financial terms were not disclosed. Joseph H. Merschman, Mertec's President, said: "We are excited about our partnership with Evogene. This collaboration strengthens our ability to deliver innovative products to our dealers and farmer customers."

Dr Hagai Karchi, CEO for Evogene, stated: "We are very pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with Mertec, an industry leading soybean germplasm and seed supplier. Soybean is the most widespread biotechnology enhanced crop globally, and we are confident that certain traits in our existing development pipeline will provide the basis for significant improvements."

About Evogene Ltd: Evogene's mission is to become a leading developer of improved traits in plants. The Company's high-throughput platform combine state-of-the-art computational genomics, molecular biology and advanced classical breeding methods in order to accelerate, direct and mimic the natural evolution process. Evogene's current product development efforts are focused on enhanced fiber in cotton; abiotic stress tolerance and nitrogen use efficiency for various crops; and a unique plant platform for the production of therapeutic proteins. For additional information, please visit Evogene's Website at

About Mertec, LLC: Mertec, LLC, based in West Point, Iowa, is a leading breeder and developer of soybean germplasm for the seed trade. Mertec has an extensive line-up of soybean germplasm for the maturities in the United States. Mertec has entered into strategic relationships with biotech and life science companies to deliver the latest traits and technologies to farmer growers in Mertec's high yielding soybean germplasm.

Evogene: Ofer Haviv, COO & CFO, , Tel: +972-8-931-1905

Mertec LLC: Joseph H. Merschman, COO & CFO President,, Tel: +1-319-837-6111

Contact person: Julien Meissonnier, Business Development, Evogene Ltd., 13 Gad Feinstein, P.O.Box 2100, Rehovot 76121, Israel. Tel & Fax: +972-2-534 4614, Evogene Office: +972-8-931 1900, Mobile: 054 475 536

E-mail: ; ; Website:

Rehovot, Israel - 16 November 2004


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Development of Recombinant Edible Vaccines for Veterinary Purposes

Our objective is to develop and bring to market recombinant empty viral particles as vaccines in recombinant plants and microorganisms.  In phase I of the development we are focusing on vaccines for the veterinary market while in phase II we plan to broaden the development to human health-care applications. We are seeking partnership between a European company, Rahan Meristem and Shafit Biological Laboratories for completion of the R&D phase I, production and merchandising of the products. We predict a 24-month lead-time before an initial prototype will be available for marketing. 

The advantages are: 1) Avoiding the risk involved in production and use of live or attenuated viruses. 2) Significant reduction of production cost. 3) Almost no need for manufacturing facilities for edible vaccines and negligible material cost  (appendix, table 1). 4) Simplifying the procedures for registration and licensing. 5) Elimination of mammalian cell culture will reduce the risk of contamination with other disease causing agents (HIV, Hepatitis C, etc.).

Veterinary application: Recombinant vaccines directed against Gumboro (IBDV) disease in poultry and Foot and Mouth disease (FMDV) in mammalian farm animals. Involved are: 1. Commercial and research companies - Rahan Meristem (1998) LTD and Shafit Biological Laboratories. 2. Research groups - the Animal Virology Group at the  Kimron Veterinary Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Plant Virology group at the Hebrew University.

The Gumboro (IBDV) recombinant full virion, expressed in bacterial systems, was proven a successful immunogen.  The IBDV genome was inserted in transgenic potato plants and used as an oral vaccine. We have patented the technology in the USA and filled for PCT and local patents additional patents are in preparation. The project is financed by the industrial partners and by competitive grants from the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Marketing plan forecast involves a 10 year penetration process starting in the year 2004 ending up in 15% penetration in year 2010. Current competitors for veterinary vaccines include two major (above 100 million USD) companies: Rhפne Merieux and Intervet, medium size companies e.g. Malinncrot, Fort Dodge, Pfiezer, Sanofy and Vineland (10-100 million USD) and several smaller companies. Currently, non of the above companies offer non-conventional (biotech) vaccines.

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Israeli agro-biotechnology company FertiSeeds is offering a novel solution for production of hybrid seeds based on molecular genetic technology

An Israeli agro-biotechnology company FertiSeeds is offering a novel solution for production of hybrid seeds based on molecular genetic technology. FertiSeeds was founded in 2000 , has demonstrated the core technology, and is presently working on commercial crops and business development. The company is owned and funded by prominent private investors and has several strategic research and development collaborations focused on accomplishing its mission.

Mission Statement: FertiSeeds mission is to establish a broadly applicable, universal hybridization technology to improve value for growers and provide intellectual property protection for germplasm and technology suppliers.

FertiSeeds Technology: FertiSeeds has developed a method, patented as “Exogenic Allelism”, to position two genetic components precisely across from each other on sister chromosomes. These components complement each other to cause male sterility in the hybrid parent generation. In the F1 offspring, the components segregate naturally. Since each component is inactive alone, when the FertiSeeds mother is crossed with any other parent variety of choice, the resulting F1 offspring is a fully fertile, high yielding hybrid crop.

Competitive Advantages: The advantages of this technology are that it offers full male sterility in the parent line and full fertility in the F1 hybrid generation. Fertility is restored through natural segregation of the male sterility components, thus there is no need for restorer genes. Pollen donors can be any commercial varieties of choice or superior combiners, thus extra versatility in breeding and faster product-to-market is provided.

The transgenic male sterile trait mechanism is inactivated naturally, via segregation, thus eliminating environmental impact or pollen flow into wild species.

Intellectual property protection is provided the natural way for germplasm and traits of other technology providers and for FertiSeeds technology.

Business Development: FertiSeeds' vision is to serve seed companies and agricultural biotechnology providers by supplying a competitive advantage through profitable hybrid production and IP protection. FertiSeeds will capture the value it adds through a market-focused system of variable fees that relate directly to the benefits it generates.

Partnering: FertiSeeds is actively seeking collaborators to complement its technology and research competence. We propose exchanged value with the following partners:

Seed companies seeking hybrid development

Technology providers seeking IP protection through hybrids

Technology developers seeking co-development


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Programs that integrate the proprietary AFLP® and cDNA-AFLP technologies

During the last 14 years, Keygene has been very successful in developing the AFLP(r) molecular marker system and a wide range of related services for (plant) breeding companies. Their shareholders and main customers have become market leaders in several high-yielding vegetable crops the last years.

Most of Keygene services are based on AFLP(r), the most cost effective marker technology available. For many crops Keygene executed large programs and assisted in the development of extensive genetic knowledge for their customers. For instance; in Capsicum, Barley, Corn and other species large integrated genetic maps are build.

Keygene can be divided into two major departments, the first, Gentics, is specialised in services like identification of varieties, marker assisted back cross programs, marker development projects (mono- and polygenic traits), genetic (fine) mapping, allele / chromosome haplotyping and development of specific breeding tools like mentioned in our article "Breeding by Design(tm)" which describes the potential possibilities of markers in breeding.  Please contact Keygene  to receive more information regarding this revolutionary concept.

Keygene Genomics, the second department, is specialized in innovative contract research. With in-depth vision and extensive research facilities Keygene Genomics provides state of the art contract research programs with emphasis on structural and functional genomics.  Programs that integrate the proprietary AFLP® and cDNA-AFLP technologies with a broad spectrum of other genomics tools, Keygene Genomics offers total genomics solutions to its customers. Application of the powerful technology platform in many different sized programs is now targeted towards the generation of marker (AFLP®/SNP) sets, gene isolation and the elucidation of complex (QTL) biological questions.

In summary Keygene offers companies in the life science industry a wide range of services for the development of specific breeding tools, genetic software packages and genetic contract research for more complex genetic problems.

For information please contact Arjan van Steekelenburg or tel: +31 317 466 866


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Evogene to evaluate plant-based production of Compugen therapeutic protein candidates

Evogene Ltd., a pioneer in plant biotechnology, announced today an agreement with Compugen Ltd. (Nasdaq: CGEN), a genomics based drug and diagnostics discovery company, to evaluate the production of three of Compugen’s therapeutic protein candidates using Evogene’s proprietary “Plant Made Pharmaceutical” (PMP) platform.  Under the agreement, Compugen will supply the sequence information of three therapeutic protein candidates. The proteins were discovered through the use of its powerful predictive models and discovery engines, and underwent further in-house wet validation. Evogene will study the feasibility of producing these therapeutic protein candidates using its proprietary plant-based protein production platform. The advent of recombinant DNA technology has resulted in numerous breakthrough biopharmaceutical products in areas such as cancer, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease. More than ninety approvals or new indications for biopharmaceuticals have been granted by the FDA since 2000, and more than 1000 protein-based therapeutics are at various stages of development, with 200-300 in late stage clinical trials. Currently, mammalian cell culture is the dominant method for the manufacture of biological products, but mammalian cell culture production is complex and costly. It is characterized by long process development and scale-up times (3-5 years), high and rigid capital requirements ($250M -$500M) and elevated operating costs. The use of modified plants for human protein production is an area of great interest in the industry, and a number of companies are attempting to create platforms for this purpose. Production of human proteins in plants potentially has substantial economic and qualitative benefits, including reduced health risks from pathogen contamination (such as prions responsible for mad-cow disease) and mammalian viruses (such as HIV and Hepatitis B), lower capital requirements and operating costs, faster scale up and much greater production flexibility. In addition to providing these potential advantages of protein production in plants, Evogene’s proprietary platform addresses two of the major bottlenecks inherent in most plant protein production platforms now in development by others: harvesting and extraction of the target protein and its subsequent purification. The uniqueness of Evogene’s platform is that it is based on utilizing the existing machinery of a specific plant tissue that naturally produces a very high concentration of a native protein, and the plant tissue allows easy harvesting and extraction of the protein.  An additional advantage is that the plant platform has been designed to be grown under containment conditions. Ofer Haviv, COO & CFO for Evogene, stated: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to validate the development of our plant based protein production platform on Compugen’s novel therapeutic protein candidates with real application potential.”  Evogene Ltd. mission is to become a leading developer of ‘improved trait plants’ via a proprietary platform combining state-of-the-art computational genomics, molecular biology and advanced classical breeding methods. This objective is accomplished through the development of high-throughput, economically efficient platforms that accelerate, direct and mimic the natural evolution process. Evogene’s current research efforts are focused in three areas:  key trait improvements in cotton; gene discovery for abiotic stress tolerance and plant nutrient uptake; and a the development of a proprietary platform for the production of therapeutic proteins in plants.

Initiated in 1999 as a division of Compugen (NASDAQ: CGEN); Evogene was established as a separate company in 2002 by Compugen and founders Drs. Hagai Karchi and Rafi Meissner.


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Sigma-Aldrich Corp. conducts research and development

The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sigma-Aldrich Corp. conducts research and development, manufacture and distribution of a broad range of biochemical, organic and inorganic chemicals, immunochemicals, tissue culture and molecular biology reagents, diagnostic reagents and related products. In addition, the company distributes laboratory equipment and supplies for centrifugation, chromatography, electrophoresis, filtration and distillation as well as computer products and scientific books.

The Jerusalem facility (formerly Makor Chemicals) develops and manufactures fermentation products such as antibiotics, microbial toxins, lipo-polysaccharides, nucleic acids and polynucleotides; synthetic organic compounds such as purines, pyrimidines, sugars and derivatives, steroids, neuroactive compounds and plant growth stimulators; proteins and enzymes extracted from microbial, plant and animal sources, lectins and conjugates, glycoproteins involved in cell adhesion, growth and differentiation factors, signal transduction reagents and transcription factors for molecular biology research; lipids and their conjugates totaling more than 1,700 products.


Mr. Moshe Rashi

General Manager

3 Menahem Plaut St., Park Rabin


ISRAEL, 76326

Telephone: 08-9484222; 02-5893666

Fax: 08-9484200


WEB site:


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Health-Invest: The New Dutch magazine for Life Sciences

Health-Invest is a new magazine with popular scientific articles about the newest developments in Life Sciences in The Netherlands: health, new medicine and food. The magazine also includes fashion, carrier and financial business. Health-Invest wil highlight various subjects through combining Life Sciences and Life Style. Attention wil go to  stormy developments in the medical sciences, for innovative medical research and company profiles, as wel as developments in the general health and prosperity of society. Health-Invest is a Dutch language, internationaal orientated magazine about health and prosperity made for a large audience: from starters in Life Sciences, to those interested in health-care, the food sector, students, and especcially investors and eveyone interested in his own health. The next issue of Health-Invest will come out in January 2004 and wil focus on:  Nanotechnology Nanotechnology is today seen as the most important industrial revolution of the 21st century. In the next 25 years an enormous market will develop for products made with the help of this technique. Besides the information technology the medical profession wil also profit from nanotechnology. Our body is made up of cells and a technology that works on that level is much beter suited for treating sick cells than the treatments now available. The Netherlands has in this area a very good starting position in order to become an important  partner in this enormous nanotechnology market.  Health-Invest will focus further on this issue.

For more information contact:  E-mail:


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The SunGreen method for growing vegetables in a clean white environment

The SunGreen system, developed over the last 10 years, is based on extensive experience with detached substrate production in small containers. It is a system for growing vegetables in a clean white environment, utilizing the suns rays and their reflection from the white surfaces that:

-          Increases  the plants activity

-          Protects against pests such as flying insects that are dazzled by the radiation and keep away from the growing area

-          Prevents the irrigation water in the drip system from heating. Hot water harms the roots

-          Keeps the greenhouse area clean

The system incorporates the following:

1.        A greenhouse covered with strong plastic that filters UV radiation

2.        Ventilation outlets with insect proof netting (50 mesh) for random wind born insects

3.        Canals between the rows for drainage of excess water

4.        Heavy gauge nylon black on one side and white on the other for the greenhouse floor. The black is face down to prevent

5.        seeds growing. - the white is face up to reflect the suns rays.

6.        A reliable drip irrigation system

7.        Individual Anglebase containers

8.        Suitable substrate to fill the containers (Perlite or other)

9.        Anglebase funnels, one for each container

10.     White rope for support trellising

The 10 liter container has a sloping inner floor so that any excess water collects at the bottom. The horizontal base is structured with a honeycomb sculpturing to enable firm positioning on the ground.

The container has a vertical slit in the centre of the curved wall that terminates above the container floor. This is the only outlet.

The Anglebase funnel has been developed specially for use with the container.

Water drains into the funnel, and is carried  directly to the root area of the plant where it is needed.

Accurate penetration of  fertilizer  nutrients and other organic substances as required

Individual treatment for selected plants

Heating or cooling of the substrate close to the roots

Use of slow dissolving solids without blocking the system.

The superiority of the ANGLEBASE system:

1.        Growing with Anglebase meen to grow Kleen 'without pollution

2.        Save more then 50% water.                                                                                                                      

3.        Save 50 %  off fertilizing.                                                               

4.        Have the possibility to grow the same nom'of plants you want. The same gape from line  to line you wants.                                   

5.        You have the possibility to grow without gas disinfecting.           

6.        From end growing to the new seeds or plaints: one day to week.

7.        No ground training' no fixing levelling the entire field.                      

8.        Use your droop system you have.                                                    

9.        It is possible to grow in open fields ' net houses' greenhouses ET. With good success with highest qualities and quantities.

10.     You have the ability to grow at; salted soil' slope fields' infected ground' or field in bad conditions.

11.     We have the ability to grow beautiful flowers or the best vegetables: Without to be connected to electric.                                                               









Welcome to the Israel Bio-Tech 2005 the 4th national Conference and Exhibition

It is my pleasure to invite you to participate in the Israel Bio-Tech 2005 the 4th national Conference and Exhibition of the Israeli Life Science and Technology Industry. Israel-Biotech 2005 will be held under the auspices of the newly formed ILSI - Israel Life Science Industry and INNI - Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative. Israel biotech 2005 is expanding its scope to include the well established medical device segment and emerging technologies such as Nano-Bio and Cell therapy in addition to the traditional biotech industry. Each day will begin with a plenary presentation by a world renowned scientist. We are looking foreword to an inspirational experience. The organizing committee has decided to create a new format to Israel Biotech 2005. Our objective as providers of health-care solutions is to address the unmet needs in a more comprehensive manner by merging different approaches and technologies to improve the Human condition. In that light the conference will focus on four disease areas: cancer, cardiovascular diseases, CNS and Metabolic disorders. Leading researchers from academia and industry, from Israel and abroad, will present their understanding and vision of future developments from the perspective of basic science, pharmacological interventions, device and device-drug interventions. Finally, Israeli start-ups active in this areas will present their activities. This will give participants and audience a comprehensive state-of-art and vision of such disease areas. Special attention will be given to the financial and economic environment of the Israeli Life Science Industry through the participation of leading representatives of government and the V.C community in Israel and abroad. I am sure that Israel Bio-Tech 2005 will be a conference especially suited to the large Israeli Life Science and Technology community. It will be an opportunity to present our achievements to the many visitors form abroad and create new contacts. Let me urge each one of you to participate in this exciting event.


Aharon Schwartz, Ph.D.


Bio-Tech Israel 2005 Conference


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EOI's for the Sixth Framework

Tel Aviv university has published the EOI's for the Sixth Framework on the web, and invites interested partners from the Netherlands (academy and industry) to join the consortia being formed. Contact can be made directly with the coordinator of each group or with the EU liason Office at the address on the web site: EOI's for the Sixth Framework


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Previous Bulletins

To see the previous bulletins click on Projects at our web site : Projects in the fields of nanotechnology, drug discovery, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, tissue engineering, functional foods, protein design, drug delivery, vaccine design, cancer therapy, neurological disorders, medical diagnostics, molecular imaging, fermentation and many more. For more information about Life Sciences in Israel and in The Netherlands look at the our web site , your portal to Israeli and Dutch biotechnology.

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