(17th Mar 2005) Dow AgroSciences, MerLion Pharmaceutical Announce Collaboration for the Discovery of Novel Agrochemical agents.


Robyn Heine
Dow AgroSciences LLC
317- 337 4807

Chris Molloy
Business Development Manager
MerLion Pharmaceuticals
+(65) 6829 5606

Dow AgroSciences, MerLion Pharmaceutical Announce Collaboration for the Discovery of Novel Agrochemical agents

Companies to identify and develop bioactive agents for agricultural usage


Indianapolis USA and Singapore -- Dow AgroSciences LLC and MerLion Pharmaceuticals (MerLion Pharma), announced today that they have entered into a collaboration to identify candidates for new agrochemical agents.

The collaboration will bring together MerLion Pharma’s outstanding collection of natural product samples, natural product chemistry and bioprocessing expertise with Dow AgroSciences’ research and discovery engine. This powerful combination will offer Dow AgroSciences access to a chemical diversity previously untapped for agrochemical use and MerLion entry to this sector alongside its existing human drug discovery business. Commercial terms of the collaboration were not released.

Dow AgroSciences will apply their existing screens to candidates selected from the MerLion sample collection. MerLion will back up this effort with its highly experienced and internationally recognised natural products chemistry and bioprocessing teams, who have reduced dramatically the time taken to characterise bioactive compounds from natural product samples. This combination aims to provide rapid lead identification across a range of high-value agrochemical targets.

“We are pleased to be collaborating with Dow AgroSciences in this sector of discovery,” said Dr. Tony Buss, CEO of MerLion Pharma. “This agreement recognises that natural products continue to provide exciting and tractable new bioactive compounds. The molecules that are discovered within our collection can offer clear economic and welfare benefits in the protection of crops in addition to their uses for direct human therapy. Natural organisms have generated bioactive molecules to combat pests and diseases for millennia and have kept pace with the changes in their virulence by improving their own chemical mechanisms of defence.”

About MerLion Pharma (www.merlionpharma.com)

MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte. Ltd. is a privately held Singapore-based company, focusing on the discovery and development of new drug candidates from natural sources. The company's assets and capabilities include an unparalleled natural product sample collection, advanced high throughput screening technology, state of the art natural products chemistry and bioprocessing facilities and an experienced medicinal chemistry group.

MerLion Pharma collaborates with leading pharmaceutical companies, biotechs and research institutes to identify and develop new chemical leads for a wide range of molecular targets. The company's other current collaboration partners include Abbott Laboratories, Arpida SA, Athelas SA, Fujisawa Pharmaceutical, Johns Hopkins, KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, Merck and Co, NovImmmune SA and Schering-Plough Inc. MerLion Pharma is also developing and commercialising lead compounds emerging from its own discovery and in-licensing programs. MerLion Pharma is staffed by over 60 employees and occupies 28,000 square feet of labs and offices in the Singapore Science Park.

About Dow AgroSciences (www.dowagro.com)

Dow AgroSciences LLC, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, is a global leader in providing pest management and biotechnology products that improve the quality and quantity of the earth's food supply and contribute to the health and quality of life of the world's growing population. Dow AgroSciences has approximately 5,500 people in more than 50 countries dedicated to its business, and has worldwide sales of US $3.4 billion. Dow AgroSciences is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. For more information about Dow AgroSciences, visit www.dowagro.com.