Press Release: Avesthagen IP Model Achieves Global Benchmark Valuation of Euro 115M

Avesthagen IP Model Achieves Global Benchmark Valuation of Euro 115M > First Indian blue-chip biotech company to achieve milestone in record time of 6 yrs > Catapults Indian biotech sector to a global platform > Announces closure of Euro 25mn fund-raising > 4 strategic business units headed by industry veterans to drive accelerated growth > Unveils new corporate identity and logo > IPO in mid-2008 Avestha Gengraine Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (“Avesthagen”), India's leading fully integrated life-sciences company, announces the successful closure of its Series ‘C’ fundraise totaling Euro 25 mn in equity investments, valuing the company at Euro 115 mn (approx. Rs. 667 crores). The funds will be used for Avesthagen’s infrastructure expansion plans, including setting up state-of-the-art manufacturing units, R&D laboratories, acquisition of technology companies in the domestic and overseas markets and furthering its international presence. The investors in the series C round include Fidelity International, Limagrain group (France); Daninvest of Danone group (France) and Bennett Coleman (India). With this, total foreign investment in Avesthagen is now over 31%. The new investors further strengthen the already robust existing investor base that includes ICICI Venture, Cipla, Godrej Industries, Tata Industries and bioMérieux. Ms. Renuka Ramnath, CEO & MD of ICICI Venture, commenting on the deal said: “ICICI Venture has always believed in the capability and potential of the Avesthagen business model. We have partnered the company from the inception till date and are happy to see that under Villoo’s leadership, it is all set to become a global player of repute.” Avesthagen has in the past established a number of collaborations including joint ventures and equity-led deals with world leaders in their respective industries. These alliances will help the company access global markets. Existing partnerships are multiplying and enlarging the IP-led collaborations. The year 2006 was of special significance to Avesthagen as two leading global companies made strategic investments in R&D collaborations with two business units of Avesthagen. These are Groupe Limagrain, a French global seed major, for R&D and product development in agri-biotechnology and the European food major Groupe Danone for R&D and product development in bio-nutritionals. Revenues have increased by more than 60% in 2006 and all product pipelines are on target. The company expects to be profitable for the third consecutive year and is witnessing fast growth compared to the usual gestation period in the biotechnology industry. According to Dr. Villoo Morawala Patell, Vice-Chairperson and Managing Director, Avestha Gengraine Technologies, Pvt. Ltd., “The markets addressed by Avesthagen are all global in their nature and alliances in R&D and marketing will continue to be an essential part of its strategy. With long-term commitment towards its clients and strategic investors combined with a unique business model, Avesthagen expects solid growth in the coming years. The years 2006-08 are poised for an accelerated growth with the launch of new solutions and products in all business units of Avesthagen.” Going forward, Avesthagen’ activities are being re-organized into four strategic business units including bio-pharmaceuticals, bio-nutritionals agri-biotech, science & innovation. Each of these units will be run as independent profit centers with dedicated management teams. Avesthagen’s immediate focus will be intensifying its IP through product commercialisation. Avesthagen has started preparations for its IPO which is scheduled to take place by mid 2008, around which time the commercial launch of the first products is expected for the bio-nutritional and bio-pharmaceutical product pipelines. The headcount of the Company is anticipated to increase to over 600 within the next 18 months. Standing at the dawn of a new cycle of expansion and science & technology driven growth, Avesthagen is also pleased to present its new corporate identity and logo. The new identity for the Avesthagen group embodies the organization’s commitment to evolve new solutions and creative ideas. About Avestha Gengraine Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Avestha Gengraine Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Avesthagen) was founded in 1998 by one of India’s pioneers and leading biotech entrepreneurs Dr. Villoo Morawala-Patell, who got her PhD from Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France, in 1993. It began business operations officially in 2001. Since its inception Avesthagen has grown into one of India's leading healthcare technology group in India, pursuing its vision of convergence of food, pharma and population genetics leading to preventive personalised medicine. Its activities include, in addition to its agri-biotechnologies product pipeline, development of scientifically validated bioactive nutraceuticals, derived from Indian medicinal plants, as well as the development of a pipeline of bio-similar drugs. Avesthagen has four strategic business units: Biopharmaceuticals, Food for Medicine (Bio-nutritionals), Seed for Food (agribiotech) and Science Innovation. Avesthagen's partners include multiple top 10 global companies in each of its fields of research. For the bio-pharmaceuticals business unit, pilot scale manufacturing facilities are being constructed in joint venture format (“Avesta Biotherapeutics & Research Pvt. Ltd.) with its partner, Cipla. Pre-clinical trials for the first products will be initiated shortly. Commercialization of the products, once approved, will be done through Cipla’s extensive sales organization. In the bio-nutritionals business unit, (pilot-scale) manufacturing facilities are being constructed. Expansion of manufacturing capacity is also anticipated to take place through acquisition of one or more extraction plants. The first series of pre-clinical trials for Avesthagen’s bio-nutritional products has been completed successfully. Commercialization of the products, once approved, will be done in close cooperation with Avesthagen’s partners. In addition, Avesthagen has developed its retail formula in the form of Avesta Good Earth Foods Pvt. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary, that will use the clinically validated botanical bio-actives, as developed by the business unit, as ingredients in its health and functional food product range. As part of its agri-biotech business unit “Seed for Food”, Avesthagen, with its strategic partner Limagrain, is setting up a technology driven Indian seed business, through acquisition of Indian seed companies, following which technologies and germplasm from both parties will be used for new product development. Two joint venture companies have been registered between Avesthagen and Limagrain, Atash Seeds Pvt. Ltd. and Ava Seeds Pvt. Ltd. Atash Seeds will be the special purpose vehicle to jointly develop field crops seed activity, while Ava Seeds will be the SPV to jointly develop vegetable seed business. Avesthagen collaborates at every stage in the value chain with appropriate partners, both public and private, for access to and exchange of technology and overall commercial expertise to leverage the ‘India advantage’. Avesthagen at present employs 250 people worldwide. For Avesthagen on the web: