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September 10, 2001

DuPont gives agricultural insecticide patent rights to Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – It's a gift of potential, which could turn out to be one of the largest gifts in Purdue's history.

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DuPont has donated more than 30 U.S. and foreign patents for two agricultural insecticides to the Purdue Research Foundation, said Thomas Woods, the company's director of intellectual assets management.

The announcement was made today (Monday, 9/10) as part of Discover Purdue Week, which concludes Saturday (9/15) with the Purdue-Notre Dame football game. Discover Purdue Week, in turn, kicks off a yearlong campaign to help Hoosiers "Discover Purdue."

Gary Bennett, professor of entomology and director of Purdue's Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management, and entomology research associate Abdul Ameen, will investigate these compounds to determine if they are effective against pests such as ticks, fleas, ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes, or other household or garden pests.

"Although these insecticides were developed for agricultural pests, because of the way they function, they show great promise to control more familiar household pests," Bennett said. "I'm confident that we will discover new uses for this technology."

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Purdue President Martin C. Jischke added: "The Purdue Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management is a national leader in the ability to screen promising insecticides for new markets. Dr. Bennett excels in this type of research.

"In addition, Purdue was chosen for its business capabilities, as well as its technical expertise. We have expertise in intellectual property management, and we have the capability to deliver on protection and licensing of the products."

The full value for the patent portfolios cannot yet be accurately assessed because future uses of the products have yet to be determined. However, Bennett said DuPont has made significant investments in these two products during their initial development, in tests of their safety and effectiveness, and in preparing the U.S. and international patent applications.

The donation marks the first time Purdue has received such a gift. In addition to the patent rights, Purdue also is receiving toxicology and field data.

Although this is the first patent gift to Purdue, DuPont and its subsidiary companies, such as Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., have previously funded many Purdue research projects.

The two compounds – one of which was designed to control beetles and the other to control mites – were found to be safe and effective against agricultural pests, but DuPont determined that the compounds were no longer a part of its strategic business direction, Woods said.

Rather than entomb the research in a file cabinet, DuPont decided to make the technology available so that it could benefit Purdue and the general public.

Since DuPont first began giving technology donations in 1998, it has contributed more than two dozen gifts to more than 20 research institutions, Woods said.

"In every case where DuPont makes technology donations, we look for world-class research programs where our technology would be a natural fit," Woods said. "Professor Bennett is a renowned technical champion in urban pest control, so Purdue immediately came to mind.

"The gift not only recognizes the exceptional quality of Professor Bennett's research, but also provides an opportunity to build upon and strengthen the already strong technical relationship between Purdue and DuPont."

John Snyder, associate director of Purdue's Office of Technology Commercialization, said the Purdue Research Foundation plans to license the compounds to companies that can serve both agricultural and household markets.

"When Dr. Bennett finds a promising application for the insecticides, we will try to find a selected company that can deliver it to the market," he said.

Purdue will not share any future license revenues from the patents with DuPont because DuPont does not retain any further rights to the technology.

DuPont is a science company, delivering science-based solutions that make a difference in people's lives in food and nutrition, health care, apparel, home and construction, electronics, and transportation. Founded in 1802, the company operates in 70 countries and has 90,000 employees.

Gifts announced earlier during Discovery Week, which began Friday (9/7), include:

• $40 million to pair with state, federal and other funds to build the $51 million Birck Nanotechnology Center, the first portion of the university's new Discovery Park. Michael and Katherine (Kay) Birck, of Hinsdale, Ill., gave $30 million. Michael Birck is chairman of Tellabs Inc., which develops and manufactures special telecommunications equipment and is based in Lisle, Ill. Kay Birck is head of nursing at Women's Healthcare of Hinsdale. He is originally from Clinton, Ind., and she is a native of Terre Haute, Ind. Donald and Carol Scifres, natives of Greater Lafayette, donated $10 million. Donald Scifres is co-chairman of the board of JDS Uniphase Corp., an optical communications company with dual headquarters in San Jose, Calif. and Ottawa, Canada.

Later this week, several other gifts will be announced:

• A gift to support research and scholarships.

• A gift of real estate.

• Another gift to support Discovery Park, which will be a hub of interdisciplinary research and education. In addition to the nanotechnology facility, the park will include buildings for research involving bioscience/engineering and e-enterprises. An entrepreneurship center will help students and faculty learn how to pursue real-world applications for the technologies they develop.

• A gift to help retain and attract leading faculty.

• Another gift involving the $70 million Ross-Ade Stadium renovation project.

Sources: Gary Bennett, (765) 494-4564; gbennett@purdue.edu

Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Thomas Woods, (309) 999-2246

John Snyder, (765) 494-2610; jrsnyder@purdue.edu

Writer: Steve Tally, (765) 494-9809; tally@aes.purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, bforbes@aes.purdue.edu; http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/AgComm/public/agnews/

Related information:
Top 10 gifts to Purdue

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS:
B-roll is available and includes shots from the news conference, as well as footage of insects and laboratory work.

PHOTO CAPTIONS:
Purdue University scientist Gary Bennett (right), director of Purdue's Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management, guides DuPont official Deb Grubbe (center), a chemical engineering alumna, on a tour of his labs. DuPont has announced it will donate 30 patents for two agricultural insecticides to the Purdue Research Foundation, and Bennett's team will determine if the chemistry behind them can be developed to control cockroaches, ticks, fleas, ants or mosquitoes. The center is part of the Purdue Department of Entomology, headed by Steve Yaninek (left). (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger).

A publication-quality photograph is available at the News Service Web site and at the ftp site. Photo ID: DuPont.bennett

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Purdue University urban pest scientists Gary Bennett and Abdul Ameen examine German cockroaches in a "cockroach arena," which is a laboratory structure designed to simulate the conditions in an American kitchen. Bennett and Ameen will be testing two new agricultural insecticides, donated to Purdue by DuPont to determine if they can be used to control non-agricultural pests such as cockroaches, ticks, fleas, ants or mosquitoes. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo by Tom Cambell.)

A publication-quality photograph is available at the News Service Web site and at the ftp site. Photo ID: Bennett.dupont

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