November 21, 2003



US Athenix Corp To Partner Mertec To Co-Develop & Market New Soybean Varieties

Athenix Corp., a United States' leading biotechnology company developing high-value, bio-industrial products for the Agricultural and Chemical Industries using genetic traits from microbes, announced a major expansion of its strategic alliance with local Mertec, LLC, a leading breeder and supplier of soybean seed.

The two companies will bring newly developed traits from Athenix to the market in soybean varieties developed by Mertec. The expanded collaboration includes product development and registration. Athenix will also receive multi-year research funding and substantial downstream value share. Mertec will market the co-developed soybean varieties through the use of their strong industry channels. Till date, the financial terms were not disclosed.

"We are very pleased to expand our collaboration with Mertec, an industry-leading seed company, and to have access to their outstanding soybean varieties," said Mike Koziel, President and CEO of Athenix. "The combination of Mertec's excellent germplasm with our innovative, breakthrough traits will provide growers with soybean varieties that have superior yield and quality."

"Athenix is focused on products and the partnership with Mertec is an essential element of our business strategy to gain broad market access in key crops," added Gregory Lewis, Vice President of Business Development for Athenix. "This collaboration leads to a significant competitive advantage in creating commercially valuable soybean varieties."

Joseph Merschman, Mertec's President, said: "We are excited about partnering with Athenix. This collaboration strengthens our ability to deliver innovative products to our dealers and farmer customers."

About Athenix Corp.

Athenix is a leading biotechnology company developing innovative, high-value, bio-industrial products for the Agricultural and Chemical businesses using genetic traits from microbes. These traits are used to develop enhanced plants, microbes, enzymes, and processes for a variety of industry sectors. Athenix is focused on two major market opportunities: 1) the discovery of genes and proteins for novel input traits (such as insect resistance, nematode resistance and herbicide tolerance), and their use to develop transgenic plants for the Agricultural Chemical and Seed Industries; and 2) the discovery of genes and proteins for improved bioconversion in the Chemical, Alternative Energy and Animal Feed Industries.

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.

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