ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
8 July 2002


In January 2000 The Wall Street Journal declared, "With the controversy over genetically modified foods spreading across the globe and taking a toll on the stocks of companies with agricultural-biotechnology businesses, it's hard to see those companies as a good investment, even in the long term." According to item 1, even medical biotech's becoming an increasingly doubtful investment.

All of which renders ridiculous the continuing obsession of technocrats like Blair, and of many bio-scientists and corporations, with BIOBIZ - building businesses and national economic competitiveness from genetics, and most especially genetic engineering.

1. Question Mark Over Biotech
3. Bionova R&D Operations to Be Shut Down
4. Monsanto's Second-Quarter 2002 Financial Results


1. Question Mark Over Biotech


Tom Abate
            SF Gate, Monday, July 8, 2002

Having endured punishment on Wall Street and jokes about Martha Stewart's ImClone shares on TV, the troubled biotech sector will be under the financial microscope for the next few weeks as companies report their earnings for the second quarter.

According to BioCentury, the industry newsletter in San Carlos, shares in the top biotech firms have dropped 43 percent since January, as the scandal around ImClone, and its best-known shareholder, Martha Stewart, continue to tar biotech with the same brush as the broader market.

These falling stock prices have brought the price-earnings ratios of biotech firms down to 32. At the beginning of the year, the average biotech stock was worth $49 for every $1 in annual earnings.

But most other industries have traditionally enjoyed P/E ratios of 15 to 20, leaving it an open question whether the money-making biotech firms will hold their value at this level or continue to plummet.

...In 2001 and 2002, the flow of money reversed, and in most months, money trickled out of the funds as investors redeemed their holdings.

Setting aside investor concerns, the sorry state of biotech stocks is having a dampening effect on the many smaller firms that populate the industry.

Last week, BioCentury listed 61 public firms (out of 494 companies worldwide) that had a year or less worth of cash on their balance sheets at the end of the first quarter.

Two or more years' worth of cash is vital to young biotech firms, which typically run deficits while they develop new treatments.
So one of the strongest sectors of the Bay Area economy continues to limp along, looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.


2. Press Release from Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics, 8 July 2002


Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics urge the government to look at the economics before releasing genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) into the NZ environment.

In January 1998, Australia sold its largest ever shipment of canola to Europe because it was the only supplier with non-GE canola available.

Will Australia be able to continue supplying non-GE product at a premium if GE field trails and commercial plantings go ahead?

In March 2001, the Tasmanian federal government acknowledged that transgenic canola had escaped from 11 trial sites over three years.(1)

Federal reports show Aventis and Monsanto breached transgenic crop guidelines at 21 Tasmanian sites(2) and the Sydney Morning Herald (22 June 2001) reported that the Federal Government could give precise location details for less than 10 of 120 field test sites. And now the New South Wales Agriculture Minister, Richard Amery, has admitted buffer zones are unrealistic, that it is ëall or nothingí with GE.(3)

Because transgenic crops are prohibited, over the last two years Brazil's share of the world soybean market has grown from 24 to 30 percent. In the same period, the US share has dropped from 57 to 46 percent, despite a nearly 70 percent government subsidy supporting the industry.(4)

The latest EU Commission poll, matching others world-wide, found 80% of consumers opposed to GE food.(3)

If NZ plants transgenic crops, will our export markets want to buy them?

References: (1) ABC News 29 March 2001.(2) <> 10 April 2001.(3) <>(4) The Guardian (UK) 1 April 2002; Greenpeace report, "Risky Prospects." ENDS


3. Bionova R&D Operations to Be Shut Down [excerpt]

OAKLAND, Calif., May 13, 2002 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/
-- Bionova Holding Corporation (BVA) announced today that it has begun closing down its research and development operations, carried out primarily through its wholly owned subsidiary DNA Plant Technology Corporation (DNAP). The focus of DNAP's research has been the production of transgenic plants which provide improved disease resistance for fruit and vegetable crops. Concerns about public acceptance of transgenic products in these markets have made producers reluctant to invest in the development of transgenic fruits and vegetables. Further, the agricultural industry has been suffering with reduced prices in the past few years, leading growers, food companies and other providers to delay new R&D investment. Despite an intensive search, these factors have made it difficult for the company to develop new customers. With this absence of a customer base, DNAP has not been able to obtain venture capital or other financing sufficient to continue R&D operations. Accordingly, research and development operations are being terminated, and over the next two months, DNAP's Oakland R&D facility will be closed down and nearly all personnel will be laid off. DNAP will shift its focus to the licensing or sale of its intellectual property. It is anticipated that the shut-down of R&D operations will be complete by June 30, 2002.

SOURCE Bionova Holding Corporation
Copyright (C) 2002 PR Newswire. All rights reserved.


4. Monsanto's Second-Quarter 2002 Financial Results

Monday July 8, 11:44 am Eastern Time

[see also: ]
Press Release
SOURCE: Monsanto Company

Monsanto Company Sets Webcast and Analyst/Media Call for Second-Quarter 2002 Financial Results

ST. LOUIS, July 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON
News) today announced it will issue the company's second-quarter 2002 financial results on Tuesday, July 23, 2002, prior to market open. In conjunction with the announcement of its results, Monsanto will hold a conference call at 9 a.m. Central Daylight Time. The call will focus on these results and will also discuss future expectations. The call may also include a discussion of Monsanto's strategic initiatives, product performance and other matters related to the company's business.

A simultaneous audio webcast of the conference call may be accessed by visiting the company's web site at and clicking on "Investors." Visitors may need to download Windows Media Player(TM) prior to listening to the webcast. Following the live broadcast, a replay of the webcast will be available on the Monsanto web site for two weeks.

Monsanto Company, an 84 percent owned subsidiary of Pharmacia Corporation (NYSE: PHA - News), is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. For more information on Monsanto, see:

SOURCE: Monsanto Company

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