GENET archive


7-Business: U.S. biotech companies seek funding from bioterrorismprogrammes

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                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Monsanto Announces Changes To Its Board Of Directors
SOURCE: Monsanto, USA, Press Release
DATE:   Feb 20, 2003

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Monsanto Announces Changes To Its Board Of Directors

ST. LOUIS (Feb. 20, 2003) - Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) announced today
that George Poste, D.V.M., Ph.D., was elected to the Monsanto Company
board of directors, effective yesterday. Dr. Poste is Chief Executive of
Health Technology Networks, a consulting group specializing in the
application of genomics technologies and computing in healthcare.

Dr. Poste served as Chief Science and Technology Officer, and President,
Research and Development of SmithKline Beecham from 1992 to 1999; he also
served on that company's board of directors. During his time at
SmithKline Beecham, Dr. Poste was associated with the successful
registration of 29 drug, vaccine and diagnostic products. He is a member
of the Defense Science Board of the U.S. Department of Defense, and
chairs that group's Task Force on Bioterrorism.

Dr. Poste is a board certified pathologist, a fellow of the Royal
Society, the National Academy of Great Britain and a fellow of the
Academy of Medical Sciences. He has published more than 350 scientific
papers, co-edited 15 books on cancer, biotechnology and infectious
diseases, and he serves on the editorial board of several technical journals.

The company also announced that Philip Needleman, Ph.D., has resigned
from the Monsanto board, effective yesterday. Dr. Needleman is chief
scientific officer and senior vice president of Pharmacia Corporation, a
leading global pharmaceutical company. He had served as a director of
Monsanto since February 2002.

Monsanto Company a leading global provider of technology-based solutions
and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food
quality. For more information on Monsanto, see:

                                  PART II
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TITLE:  Biotech Firms Focus On Homeland Security
SOURCE: The Associated Press/The Washington Post, USA, by Daniel Rosenberg
DATE:   Feb 20, 2003

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Biotech Firms Focus On Homeland Security

Biotech and pharmaceutical firms, desperately short of venture capital,
are now looking to the Department of Homeland Security as a potential
source of much needed funds.

"Industry needs the funding and the government needs the technology,"
said Monica Medina, an attorney and a specialist on government funding at
the law firm Heller, Ehrman, White and McAuliffe LLP in Washington. "The
time is ripe."

But before startups rush to Washington with their hands out, they should
know that government funding comes with some built-in obstacles and isn't
always the best way for a company to advance development plans, venture
capital experts said.

This isn't the first time government money has become available for
companies in this sector, but the opportunities are bigger than ever.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will have over
$35 million to dispense in small business grants to biotech companies. It
will award grants for projects aimed at developing therapeutics,
vaccines, diagnostics and other resources for biodefense.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army's Soldier and Biological Chemical Command is
seeking proposals from biotech companies for the next generation of
reagents, or substances used to detect the presence or amount of another

But the Department of Homeland Security is the most obvious new source of
money, and has its own Advanced Research Projects Agency aimed at
defending the U.S. through research and development. Congress has
authorized $500 million for the agency to spend this fiscal year.

"In the war against terrorism, America's already existent science and
technology base provides us with a key advantage," the department says on
its Web site. "The department will press this advantage with a national
research and development enterprise for homeland security comparable in
emphasis and scope to that which has supported the national security
community for more than 50 years."

The government will be looking for ways to treat victims of chemical or
biological attacks, as well as for vaccines. The main threats it sees are
anthrax, ebola, plague, smallpox and botulin, the neurotoxin responsible
for botulism. Other threats include ricin and sarin - a toxic nerve gas
that terrorists used to kill and injure numerous commuters on Tokyo's
subway in 1995.

"There are segments around the world hostile to the U.S. that have been
known to catalog a host of deadly toxins - all kinds of different nerve
agents," said Matthew Lyons, director of government relations at the
Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Dr. Jonathan Root, a partner with U.S. Venture Partners and founder of
Embol-X, a company that developed an intra-aortic arterial blood filter,
said a government contract can be alluring for small companies, but also
can get in the way of their goals.

"It's appealing as another source of dollars to help the biotech startups
(that) are cash-starved, but it's not a long-term business solution,"
Root said. "I worry that biotechs will look to the government as a source
of financing - which it will be as long as the problem exists, but at the
end of the day won't be for the long term."

A few companies, he said, will be able to use government money and the
projects it funds as a leverage opportunity. For instance, the company
that develops an anthrax vaccine and supplies it to the government may be
able to use the money it makes and its research to develop a continuing
source of revenue - such as a vaccine for AIDS or herpes.

                                  PART III
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TITLE:  Professor warns of agroterrorism
SOURCE: Amarillo-Globe News, USA, by Lee Leschper
DATE:   Feb 19, 2003

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Professor warns of agroterrorism

BORGER - The farms and ranches of the nation's breadbasket are prime
targets for agroterrorism, according to a speaker at the Great Plains
Future of Agriculture Symposium here Tuesday.

Agroterrorism is a growing concern as talks turn to chemical warfare and
biosecurity issues with the water, air and food supply.

But Jan Moore, Frank Phillips College sociology, psychology and English
professor, said it should be a concern beyond the recent acts of terrorism.

"There are many reasons people might want to mess with our agriculture
industry," Moore said at the symposium at Frank Phillips College.

Animal rights activist leaders have openly said they hope foot and mouth
disease would come to the United States because it would hurt only those
in the animal industry, Moore said.

Also, there's considerable opposition to genetically modified
agriculture, and agroterroristic acts may be used to get people's
attention, Moore said.

"The really scary one is that people would have economic motivation, such
as making a profit off the manipulation of the futures market," she said.

Another example, Moore said, is possible revenge. The United Nations Drug
Control Program is developing a pathogen to kill opium poppies, marijuana
and other plants.

Opium poppy growers in Afghanistan might use agroterrorism as a method of
revenge for us trying to destroy their cash crop, she said.

Moore said the concern with agroterrorism is the economic impact it would
have on the nation and the ease in which it could be inflicted.

Foot and mouth disease - as well as other contagious viral diseases -
only has to be introduced into a small population of animals to spread
rapidly, she said.

Moore stresses the United States has not had any agroterrorism attacks
thus far.

But she said she is concerned because the Texas Panhandle is the
breadbasket of the nation.

It would be much cheaper and easier to introduce foot and mouth here and
would devastate the economy, she said.