A leadership change at Calgene Inc. and sale of a majority ownershipposition to strategic partner Monsanto Co. are part of a plan by thetwo companies to advance development of their agriculturalbiotechnology business and research.

Monsanto, of St. Louis, purchased 49.9 percent of Calgene in June1995. With a $50 million additional equity investment through thepurchase of 6.25 million shares at $8 per share, Monsanto increasedits ownership to 54.6 percent.

In addition to the cash infusion, Calgene Chairman and CEO RogerSalquist stepped down from those posts after 12 years. LloydKunimoto, vice president of strategic planning and businessdevelopment, was named acting CEO and is a candidate forpermanent appointment to that post.

No timetable was released for naming a successor to Salquist, whowill remain a member of the board and a consultant.

Monsanto's increased ownership will result in a leadership shift onthe board of directors, giving the company five nominees toCalgene's four.

Calgene's marketed products include the Flavr Savr tomato, modifiedto delay ripening, and other genetically engineered plants, such ascotton and canola. The company's BXN cotton is altered to requirefewer chemical herbicides and its Laurical canola oil is derived fromrapeseed plants designed to produce a greater percentage of the foodingredient.

When Monsanto a year ago acquired a nearly 50 percent interest inCalgene in an agreement worth about $200 million to the Davis,Calif.-based company, the alliance was described as a swap ofCalgene's technological expertise for much-needed Monsanto cash.(See BioWorld Today, June 29, 1995, p.1.)

In discussing the current deal, Monsanto's executive vice president,Hendrik Verfaillie, said in a prepared statement, "The significant newbusiness growth opportunities at Calgene in oils, cottonseed andproduce require a substantial increase in working capital if Calgene isto realize the full potential of these opportunities." n

-- Charles Craig

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.