Ecogen Inc. said Wednesday that it has acquired the nematodebioinsecticide business of Bioenterprises Pty Ltd. for anundisclosed amount of cash and stock.

Bioenterprises of Glenorchy, Australia, has commercialized onenematode product, its Otinem bioinsecticide. Sales figuresweren't disclosed.

"We're looking to broaden the business base and feel there's anice synergy between our Bacillus thuringiensis products forfoliar insects and the nematodes for soil," said John McIntyre,vice president of commercial development at Ecogen ofLanghorne, Pa. (NASDAQ:EECN).

Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that attack insectlarvae in the ground. The Environmental Protection Agencydoesn't require registration of nematode products.

"Since 90 percent of all insects live in soil during some part oftheir life cycle, we see a huge opportunity for nematode-basedbioinsecticides," said John Davies, Ecogen's chairman and chiefexecutive.

Ecogen's main competition in the nematode business will beBiosys of Palo Alto, Calif., which earlier this week raised $31.2million in its initial public offering. Biosys sells seven products.

Ecogen shares lost 13 cents to $10.88 on Wednesday. Biosysended at $10.88, down $1.13. -- Karen Bernstein

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