DNA Plant Technology Corp. (DNAP) announced Monday that itwill restructure its business strategy to focus on areas wherethe company is already profitable.
According to John Bedbrook, DNAP's executive vice presidentand director of science, the company will continue to build inthe fruit and vegetable, specialty oils, and environmentaldiagnostics areas, but will move out of its ice modification andfloriculture technologies.
"We want to bring critical mass together and maintaincompetitiveness in those business areas," said Bedbrook. "Likea lot of biotechnology companies, we follow many leads butneed to be realistic about the ones we pursue. Our key is tobuild synergy around the vegetable and oils area," he added.
DNAP will consolidate basic research activities at its Oakland,Calif., facility, while certain product development activities willcontinue at its Cinnaminson, N.J., headquarters. The companyexpects to reduce its work force by 35 people.
DNAP said it has also reached an agreement in principle to sellits founder shares of Plant Genetic Systems, N.V. (PGS) for $2.5million in cash, subject to the execution of definitivedocuments. PGS shares were acquired by DNAP when thecompany merged with Advanced Genetic Sciences in 1988.
DNAP will focus on FreshWorld, the company's joint venturewith Du Pont that develops and markets VegiSweet andVegiSnax product lines; InterMountain canola; and Quantixenvironmental workstations produced by DNAP's diagnosticsdivision.
Bedbrook told BioWorld that the company is currentlynegotiating licensing rights of its BIND ice nucleationtechnology for the detection of food pathogens and willmaintain research activities related to technology transfer of itsfloriculture technologies.
Jim McCamant, editor of Medical Technology Stock Letter inBerkeley, Calif., considers DNAP's restructuring to be positive."Longer-term focusing is healthy," he said. "I've alwaysbelieved DNAP's real research is done out here (in California),and now they'll be able to stop spending money on things thataren't doing well and focus on where they're really going tomake money."
The company's stock (NASDAQ:DNAP) was down 25 cents ashare to $5.38 on Monday.
-- Michelle Slade Associate Editor
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