SCOTT, Miss. – Delta and Pine Land Co. and Syngenta announced that D&PL has acquired licenses from Syngenta to deliver novel biotechnology products to cotton growers worldwide.

Under the agreements with Syngenta, D&PL will develop and commercialize Syngenta’s innovative insect resistance traits, as well as licenses to a wide range of other Syngenta enabling technologies that may be useful in developing new valuable technologies for use in cottonseed and soybean seed.

“This agreement with Syngenta represents a substantial move forward within our technology strategy to provide increased value to farmers and to bring to farmers technology from an additional source,” said Tom Jagodinski, D&PL president and chief executive officer.

“Cotton producers count on D&PL genetics, and we have taken several steps in recent years to ensure our varieties are paired with the best technologies.”

Jagodinski said D&PL has been working with Syngenta on a research basis for some time. “The potential of their technology to farmers and D&PL is clear,” he noted. “We are very pleased to be able to expand our relationship to offer Syngenta’s excellent technology to our customers.”

"This agreement with the market leader in cotton seeds will enable Syngenta to commercialize its portfolio of cotton traits," said David Jones, head of business development at Syngenta. "We are delighted that D&PL have, through this important commitment, recognized the quality of Syngenta's science."

In return for the licenses, D&PL will pay Syngenta approximately $47 million in installments. Upon commercialization of products containing Syngenta traits, D&PL will receive 70 percent of the net licensing revenues related to the insect resistant traits covered by the agreements.

The first product to be commercialized under the agreements will be VipCot, a novel insect control trait. Depending on the timing of regulatory approval, D&PL expects to have limited quantities of seed available as early as 2006. Subsequent varieties are expected to contain VipCot stacked with a herbicide tolerant trait and then with another insect-resistant gene.

“Farmers have indicated a clear interest in elite genetics teamed with top-performing technologies,” said Randy Dismuke, senior vice president for D&PL’s U.S. business. “According to USDA data in 2003, the percentage of cotton acreage planted to transgenics was 76 percent, a number that has grown consistently since our introduction of transgenic cotton in 1996.”

Dismuke said the largest growth area in the past few years has been in stacked varieties. “By increasing the number of technologies available to us, we can ensure our ability to offer cotton producers the traits and the combinations of traits they find most beneficial on their farms.”

D&PL’s technology strategy is designed to offer a variety of technologies from multiple sources to farmers in the near-term and into the future. D&PL’s commercial varieties currently contain Monsanto’s Bollgard, Bollgard II and Roundup Ready traits. In addition, D&PL has incorporated Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Flex technology and Syngenta’s VipCot traits into its research and testing programs.

D&PL also continues to develop insect resistance, herbicide tolerant and nematode resistance traits for cotton through its joint venture with Verdia (now owned by DuPont).

Delta and Pine Land Co. is a leading commercial breeder, producer and marketer of cotton planting seed. Headquartered in Scott, Mississippi, with multiple offices in eight states and facilities in several foreign countries, D&PL also breeds, produces and markets soybean planting seed in the U.S. For more information, please refer to the Company’s website at www.deltaandpine.com.

Syngenta is a world-leading agribusiness committed to sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology. The company is a leader in crop protection, and ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market. Sales in 2003 were approximately $6.6 billion. Syngenta employs some 19,000 people in over 90 countries. Further information is available at www.syngenta.com.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com