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Epitope Announces First Quarter Operating Results

    BEAVERTON, Ore., Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Epitope, Inc. (Nasdaq: EPTO)
today reported its first quarter operating results for fiscal 1997.  Revenue
for the quarter amounted to $20.6 million, up from $14.2 million in the
comparable quarter of the prior year.  Prior year results have been restated
to include the results of Andrew and Williamson Sales, Co. (A&W) which was
acquired on December 12, 1996, in a merger transaction accounted for as a
pooling of interests.  For the quarter ended December 31, 1996, the Company
reported a net loss of $4.5 million, or $0.34 a share, compared with a net
loss of $1.9 million, or $.14 a share, in the first quarter of fiscal 1996.

    Epitope Medical Products
    The Company's Epitope Medical Products group (EMP) recorded a net loss of
$0.4 million on revenues of $2.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 1997,
as compared to a net loss of $1.1 million on revenues of $1.2 million in the
quarter ended December 31, 1995.  Sales of Western blot HIV-1 confirmatory
tests increased 33% to $459,000, reflecting higher sales volumes as compared
to the prior year first quarter.  Sales of EMP's oral specimen collection
device were $1.9 million, almost four-fold the levels achieved in the prior
year first quarter.  The increase is attributable to increased use of the
device for insurance testing purposes.  The increased sales volume of oral
specimen collection devices also had a favorable impact on EMP's overall gross
margins which improved in 1997 to 59% of sales, from 42% in the first quarter
of fiscal 1996.

    Agritope
    The Company's Agritope group (Agritope) incurred a net loss of
$4.1 million on revenues of $17.9 million in the quarter ended December 31,
1996 as compared to a loss of $0.8 million on revenues of $13.0 million for
the first quarter of the prior year, which has been restated to reflect the
A&W merger and pooling of interests.  Current quarter operating results for
Agritope include non-cash charges of $1.2 million related to conversion of
$3.4 million of convertible notes into common stock of the Company at a
reduced exchange price and a $1.9 million write-down of its investment in
non-consolidated subsidiaries.  The current quarter results also included
charges of $0.8 million for costs incurred in connection with the A&W merger
and a proposal to re-designate the current class of common stock as Epitope
Medical Products stock and to create a second class designated as Agritope
common. stock.  Shareholders will be asked to approve the proposal at the
upcoming annual meeting.
    Fresh and frozen produce sales increased 39% in the current quarter as
compared to the first quarter of fiscal 1996.  The prior year first quarter
was adversely impacted by significant disease damage at one of A&W's largest
growers.  Sales in the current quarter were favorably affected by additional
volumes of vine ripe tomato and pepper production, partially offset by a
decrease in melon sales.  Produce sales are affected by seasonality, weather,
disease and similar factors and, accordingly, can vary widely from quarter to
quarter.
    Operating Highlights (in thousands, except per share data)

                                                Three Months Ended
                                           12/31/96            12/31/95
    Epitope Medical Products
    Revenues                                $ 2,641             $ 1,225
    Loss from operations                       (610)             (1,286)
    Net loss                                   (381)             (1,061)

    Agritope
    Revenues                                $17,928             $12,978
    Loss from operations                       (731)               (693)
    Net loss                                 (4,109)               (824)
    Epitope, Inc. and Subsidiaries
    Revenues                                $20,568             $14,202
    Loss from operations                     (1,342)             (1,978)
    Net loss                                 (4,490)             (1,886)
    Net loss per share                         (.34)               (.14)

    Selected Balance Sheet Data:

                                           12/31/96             9/30/96
    Epitope, Inc. and Subsidiaries
    Cash and marketable securities          $19,009             $24,517
    Working capital                          22,269              21,120
    Long-term debt                              435                 528
    Shareholders' equity                     28,868              28,684

    Epitope, Inc. is an Oregon corporation utilizing biotechnology to develop
and market medical diagnostic products through its Epitope Medical Products
group and superior new plants and related products through its Agritope group.
Agritope is also engaged in the business of growing, marketing, selling, and
distributing fresh and frozen produce.

Source: EPITOPE Inc.


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