SCOTT, Miss. – Delta and Pine Land Co. announced it has acquired licenses from Syngenta Crop Protection to deliver novel biotechnology products to cotton producers worldwide.

The global licenses will allow D&PL to develop and commercialize Syngenta’s innovative insect-resistance traits and give it access to a wide range of other Syngenta-enabling technologies that may be useful in developing new valuable products for use in cotton and soybean seed.

Pending regulatory approval, the first product to be commercialized under the agreements will be VipCot™, a novel insect control trait. Subsequent varieties are expected to contain VipCot stacked with an herbicide-tolerant trait and thereafter with another insect-resistant gene.

“We believe the farm community wants another trait with a different mode of action and another trait supplier,” said D&PL President and CEO Tom Jagodinski. He spoke at a company picnic and meeting in Scott to explain to D&PL employees the details of the licensing collaboration between the two companies.

More than 200 D&PL employees turned out in Scott to meet Syngenta officials and learn more about Syngenta as a company. David Jones, head of business development and a member of the Syngenta executive committee, detailed for the D&PL employees his company’s involvement in seeds, traits and crop protection products worldwide.

According to USDA data in 2003, the percentage of cotton acreage planted to varieties containing biotechnology traits was 76 percent, a number that has grown consistently since D&PL introduced the first transgenic cotton in 1996. The largest growth area in the past few years has been in stacked varieties.

“It’s clear that D&PL has the best seed products in the marketplace today and the collaboration with Syngenta will mean more choices of high-value cotton varieties for farmers,” said Todd Martin, cotton traits manager for Syngenta.

“By increasing the number of technologies available to us, we can ensure our ability to offer cotton producers the traits and combinations of traits they find most beneficial on their farms,” said Randy Dismuke, D&PL senior vice president for the U.S. business.

Expanded greenhouse facilities and winter nursery capabilities will be utilized by D&PL to get the first VipCot products out as soon as possible, said Jagodinski. Regulatory approval of VipCot is pending.

Now that this contract is signed, both companies will undertake a comprehensive review of the 2004 field-trial results. After this review, the lead transgenic event for commercialization will be selected. This will determine the launch date.

Delta and Pine Land is a commercial breeder, producer and marketer of cotton planting seed, as well as soybean seed, in the Cotton Belt. For almost 90 years, the company has used its extensive plant breeding programs, drawing from a diverse germplasm base, to develop improved cotton varieties. 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. Further information is available at www.syngenta.com.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com