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Origin Agritech Announces Seed Product Pipeline and Biotechnology Trait Development Update

Dec 18, 2017

BEIJING, Dec.18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Origin Agritech Ltd. (Nasdaq: SEED)("the Company" or "Origin"), an agricultural biotechnology trait and corn seed provider, today released a progress update on growth platforms which are focused on the development and commercialization of superior corn seed products and high value biotechnology traits.

"We are happy to share the exciting news on key milestone achievements for our seed product pipeline and biotechnology trait development programs," said Dr. Gengchen Han, Origin Executive Chairman.

- After 2 years of production trials as required by the government regulations in China, comprehensive data packages of the leading biotechnology traits, insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, have been submitted to China's regulatory agency for Biosafety Certificate (Phase 5) issuance. These traits have also been incorporated into Origin's leading inbred parental lines and commercial partner's elite lines in preparation for variety approval and commercial product launch.

- Origin's corn seed product portfolio has had another year of outstanding performance. Analysis of field trial data from more than 100 test locations indicated that 7 of the 7 hybrid varieties in the Green Pass production trials meet or exceed the criteria of new product registration. Data packages of these varieties will be submitted to the Ministry Of Agriculture (MOA) in December for national registration approval.

- In late 2017 Origin successfully fulfilled the Excellence Through Stewardship (ETS) Program audit requirements and became a formal member of this global organization of the AG biotechnology industry. This achievement demonstrates Origin's commitment to best practices and quality management systems and highlights its pledge to continuous improvement.   

 "I am pleased to report to stakeholders that our corn breeding pipeline and seed product portfolio are getting stronger year after year in both quantity and quality. Our biotech trait development program remains one of the industry leaders in China and we are ready to commercialize the technology once the government approvals are issued" said Dr. Jihong Liang, Origin Chief Technology Officer. 

Corn seed product breeding, development and commercialization: 
Progress Update

  • In early 2017 Origin received 5 national approvals for corn seed product registration that are suited to the major corn production areas in China. Summer field trials of the Green Pass program generated better than expected results. Seven new seed product registrations are being submitted to MOA for approval in early 2018. A total of 24 new products will enter the Green Pass trials in the summer of 2018.
  • Origin opened a Green Pass program in the South West of China that tests corn products suited to the diverse ecological conditions in that region. This effort will enable Origin to expand its corn product portfolio to meet the needs of the farmers in that market segment of about 13 million acres
  • Origin entered into collaboration agreements with 5 leading corn seed companies to evaluate Origin's new seed products in their trailing systems. The test results are being summarized and will provide support in discussions of commercial license agreements

Biotech trait development and biosafety certification
Progress Update

  • In 2017, Origin completed the second year of regulatory production trials of its first generation PEST/WEED trait as required by the government regulations. In addition to the trials conducted in 2016 that thoroughly evaluated molecular characteristics, field efficacy, environmental safety and food safety, all of which met critical biosafety regulation standards, the 2017 tests further examined effect of the traits on expanded spectrum of non-target organisms. The results confirm that the biotech traits have no negative impact on the tested non-target organisms.
  • Dossiers summarizing the combined 2016 and 2017 laboratory and field-test studies internal to Origin and in collaboration with third party research labs were submitted in November to request Phase 5 Biosafety Certificate approval. 
  • In 2017, Origin's first generation WEED and PEST/WEED traits are incorporated into the elite corn inbred lines of Origin and into the products of Origin's seed commercial partners preparing for future regulatory approval and commercialization. The use of winter nursery in Hainan Island combined with cutting-edge molecular marker technology enabled Origin to expedite the trait conversion timeline.
  • In collaboration with Arcadia in early 2017, Origin produced corn seeds carrying insect resistance and herbicide tolerance technologies developed in China in a USDA designated greenhouse in California state and passed quarantine tests. Collaborative field experiments were successfully conducted in Iowa State in the summer of 2017 that confirmed efficacy of the traits and produced larger quantity of seeds for use in the required regulatory trials.

"We are extremely pleased with the latest progress in our seed product development and biotech trait programs. These advancements have provided strong supports to our goal to become the preferred technology partner in China," said Dr. Han. "Investments in technology and innovation is the key to success in this rapidly changing and consolidating industry. We are confident that we are in the right track to win."

About Origin Agritech Limited

Origin Agritech Limited, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Zhong-Guan-Cun (ZGC) Life Science Park in Beijing, is China's leading agricultural biotechnology company, specializing in crop seed breeding and genetic improvement, seed production, processing, distribution, and related technical services. Leading the development of crop seed biotechnologies, Origin Agritech's phytase corn was the first transgenic corn to receive the Bio-Safety Certificate from China's Ministry of Agriculture. Over the years, Origin has established a robust biotechnology seed pipeline including products with glyphosate tolerance and pest resistance (Bt) traits. Origin operates production centers, processing centers and breeding stations nationwide with sales centers located in key crop-planting regions. Product lines are vertically integrated for corn, rice and canola seeds. For further information, please visit the Company's website at: http://www.originseed.com.cn or http://www.originseed.com.cn/en/.

Forward-Looking Statements

This communication contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. In this context, forward-looking statements often address expected future business and financial performance and financial condition, and often contain words such as "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "see," "will," "would," "target," similar expressions, and variations or negatives of these words. Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain, such as statements about the consummation of the proposed transaction and the anticipated benefits thereof. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are based on certain assumptions and expectations of future events which may not be realized. Forward-looking statements also involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company's control. Some of the important factors that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from those projected in any such forward-looking statements are: fluctuations in energy and raw material prices; failure to develop and market new products and optimally manage product life cycles; ability to respond to market acceptance, rules, regulations and policies affecting products based on biotechnology and, in general, for products for the agriculture industry; outcome of significant litigation and environmental matters, including realization of associated indemnification assets, if any; failure to appropriately manage process safety and product stewardship issues; changes in laws and regulations or political conditions; global economic and capital markets conditions, such as inflation, interest and currency exchange rates; business or supply disruptions; security threats, such as acts of sabotage, terrorism or war, natural disasters and weather events and patterns which could affect demand as well as availability of products for the agriculture industry; ability to protect and enforce the company's intellectual property rights; and successful integration of acquired businesses and separation of underperforming or non-strategic assets or businesses. The company undertakes no duty to publicly revise or update any forward-looking statements as a result of future developments, or new information or otherwise, should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by securities and other applicable laws.

SOURCE Origin Agritech Limited

For further information: Xin Zhou, Phone: +86-10-58907556, Email: xin.zhou@originseed.com.cn

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