The expansion was conducted in two stages: the first stage included reconstruction of new molecular and tissue culture laboratories; and the second stage included substantial expansion of Evogene's greenhouse site. The total costs for this expansion program was approximately $4.5 million.
The first stage of the program included construction of over 1,100 m2 state-of-the-art molecular and tissue culture laboratories, upgrading and expanding the previous area amount by over 60%. The new laboratories were planned and equipped with Evogene's custom tailored automated instruments for lab processes, with emphasis on cost optimization, international environmental safety standards and energy savings.
The second stage of the program included expansion of Evogene's greenhouse site and was focused on doubling the area amount in the Gezer regional area, located nearby Rehovot. This enables Evogene to substantially increase its plant growth and validation capacity. Evogene's plant validation system is today comprised of two key model plants -- Arabidopsis for dicots and Brachypodium for monocots.
In addition, Evogene has initiated an additional building program to provide new office space to support its personnel increase, mainly trait researchers and computational genomics teams. During the past three years, the company more than doubled its employment level. The new office and related facilities are budgeted to cost approximately $1,000,000.
"We are very pleased with the availability of this additional and substantial expansion of our R&D facilities in support of our continuing growth in programs, both internal and under partnerships with seed companies, as well as personnel. In this regard, we see both a continuing increase in the potential for partnerships, and the opportunity to substantially increase the amount and type of research activities that we are capable undertaking with our computational genomic platforms -- ATHLETE(TM), EvoBreed(TM) and Gene2Product(TM)," stated Assaf Kacen, EVP of Technology Platform at Evogene. "With this recent expansion, we are able to clone, transform to model plants and validate in our greenhouses over 1,000 genes per year, thus providing the capacity for continuing rapid growth and expansion."