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Epitope Announces Fiscal 1996, Fourth Quarter Results

    BEAVERTON, Ore., Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Epitope, Inc. (AMEX: EPT) today
reported its fourth quarter and fiscal 1996 operating results.  For the year
ended September 30, 1996, the Company reported a net loss of $1.4 million, or
$0.11 a share, compared with a net loss of $18.5 million, or $1.56 a share, in
fiscal 1995.  Revenue for the year amounted to $6.2 million, up from
$5.0 million in the prior year.  The Company reported a net loss of
$1.4 million, or $0.11 per share, for the fourth quarter of the year ended
September 30, 1996, compared with a net loss of $5.2 million, or $0.42 a
share, for the same period a year earlier.  Revenue for the quarter totaled
$2.1 million, compared with $586,000 for the fourth quarter in fiscal 1995.
    The significant improvement in operating results in 1996 was due to (1)
increased sales volume and improved gross margins for the Company's oral
specimen collection device, (2) a $5.2 million fee from SmithKline Beecham due
to FDA approval of extended dating for the device, (3) cost reductions
realized as a result of a September 1995 restructuring program, and (4)
reduced operating losses as a result of the divestiture of certain
unprofitable Agritope business units.

    Epitope Medical Products
    Epitope Medical Products (EMP) sales increased 73% in 1996, to a level of
$4.9 million.  Sales of EMP's oral specimen collection device were
$3.3 million, more than three-fold the levels achieved in 1995.  The device is
marketed by EMP under the name EpiScreen(TM) and by SmithKline Beecham under
the name OraSure(R).  The continued increase in sales volume has been the
result of FDA clearance for expanded use of the EpiScreen/OraSure device.
    Gross margins on product sales improved in 1996 to 45% of sales revenue as
a consequence of increased sales volume of EpiScreen/OraSure devices.  Margins
on sales of these devices were negative in 1995.
    The June 1996 approval of OraSure Western blot confirmatory test had
significant impact on revenues for the fourth quarter.  Positive HIV screening
test results can be confirmed on the original oral specimen, thus eliminating
the need for a follow-up blood test.  In response to this new capability,
sales of oral specimen collection devices in that quarter reached almost
$1.5 million, more than double the amount of the preceding quarter.  As of
September 30, 1996, EMP had firm orders totaling $1.8 million and
$450,000, respectively, for delivery of EpiScreen/OraSure and HIV confirmatory
tests in the first quarter of fiscal 1997.

    Agritope
    Agritope revenues for the year amounted to $585,000, compared to
$2.1 million in the prior year.  Revenues in 1995 included $2.0 million in
product sales from the Company's unprofitable wholesale fresh flower packaging
and distribution operations, which were divested in the third quarter of
fiscal 1995.

    Epitope, Inc.
    A tabulation of operating highlights and selected balance sheet data
follows (in thousands, except per share data):

                               Three months ended          Year ended

    OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS       9/30/96     9/30/95     9/30/96     9/30/95

    Revenues                  $  2,126    $    586    $  6,179    $  4,965
    Net loss                    (1,431)     (5,214)     (1,400)    (18,496)
    Net loss per share           (0.11)      (0.42)      (0.11)      (1.56)

    SELECTED BALANCE SHEET DATA                        9/30/96     9/30/95

    Cash and marketable securities                     $24,517     $21,340
    Working capital                                     21,630      20,532
    Total assets                                        34,447      30,134
    Shareholders' equity                                27,967      22,347

    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.

Source: EPITOPE Inc.


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