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Epitope Reports on Recent Milestones

    BEAVERTON, Ore., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Epitope, Inc. (AMEX: EPT) today
announced recent events of interest to shareholders.

    Sales Growth Continues for Oral Specimen Collection Device
    The June 1996 FDA approval of the company's OraSure(R) Western blot HIV
confirmatory test for use with oral specimens, coupled with FDA clearance of
two blood-based home collection HIV test systems, has stimulated demand for
Epitope's oral specimen collection device.  Revenues from shipments of the
device in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1996, which ends on September 30, are
expected to exceed $1.4 million.  This volume is more than double the amount
shipped in the previous quarter.  To broaden market awareness, Epitope
recently hired three market development managers who will operate from New
York, Illinois and North Carolina.  The newly appointed managers will focus on
promoting use of the EpiScreen(TM) oral specimen HIV-1 testing system by the
life insurance industry.

    Progress Continues Toward Approval of Over-the-Counter Format of OraSure
Device
    The company continues to make progress toward FDA approval of an
over-the-counter format of its OraSure(R) oral specimen collection device.
Upon approval, Epitope will manufacture the devices for over-the-counter
marketing in the U.S. by SmithKline Beecham.  Consumers will collect their own
oral samples with the OraSure device, mail the samples to a clinical
laboratory for HIV testing and call a toll-free number to get their results
from a trained counselor employed by American Social Health Association, the
most experienced AIDS counseling organization in the U.S.

    SmithKline Beecham Launches OraSure HIV Testing System To U.S.
Professional Market
    On August 5, SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare (SB), introduced
Epitope's OraSure HIV-1 testing system in U.S. professional markets.  The
product is now being offered to physicians and other medical professionals by
over 3,300 sales representatives.  This marketing effort is supported by an
advertising campaign featuring two-page spreads in prominent medical journals
such as The New England Journal of Medicine and Annals of Internal Medicine.
SB has also introduced an information phone service, placed informational
materials on the Internet and created a Physicians Referral Network for
consumers to identify doctors in their area who offer confidential HIV
testing.
    SmithKline Beecham Commences Marketing OraSure for HIV Testing in Selected
Foreign Markets
    SB has commenced marketing the OraSure oral specimen collection device for
use in HIV detection to professional markets in the European Economic
Community, the United Arab Emirates, four countries in Latin America, and a
group of countries in Central Africa.  Initial shipments to SB for those
markets occurred in July and August.

    Vinifera, Inc. Recapitalized; Becomes Majority Owned Subsidiary
    In August, Epitope's agricultural biotechnology unit, Agritope, Inc.,
agreed to cancel the remaining obligations under a June 1995 agreement to sell
its Vinifera, Inc., grape plant nursery business to VF Holdings, Inc. ("VF"),
an affiliate of a Swiss investment group.  Agritope will dismiss litigation
against VF and its principals in exchange for retaining $830,000 paid by VF
toward obligations under the agreement and issuing 200,000 shares of Series A
Preferred Stock of Vinifera.  Subsequent to the settlement, several private
investors acquired, for $1.3 million, 980,000 shares of Vinifera Series A
Preferred Stock.  As a result of these transactions, Agritope now owns
76.6% of Vinifera.

    Minnesota Fresh Flower Venture Formed
    In June 1996, an Agritope subsidiary, Agrimax Floral Products, Inc.,
contributed inventory and other operating assets of its St. Paul, Minnesota
fresh flower processing facility to Petals, USA, Inc., a newly formed
affiliate of a profitable Canadian fresh flower wholesaler, in return for a
19.5% equity interest in the company.  In addition to its interest in the
Minnesota venture, Agrimax holds a 9% equity interest in Tampa, Florida-based
U A F, L.P.

    Agritope to Develop Improved Melon Varieties in Collaboration with
International Seed Companies
    Using proprietary seed varieties supplied by a French seed company,
Clause, S.A., and its U.S. affiliate, Harris Moran Seed Company, Agritope
plans to utilize its patented ethylene control gene to develop commercial
varieties of melons with controlled ripening and increased post-harvest
product life.  The collaboration is a first step towards the potential
formation of a joint venture with producers and marketers for
commercialization of melons.

    Warrant Maturities Extended
    Epitope has notified holders of warrants to purchase approximately
2 million shares of the company's common stock that it will extend the
deadline to exercise such warrants to September 30, 1997.  The warrants, which
are exercisable at prices ranging from $16 to $20 per share, were previously
set to expire in September 1996 or March 1997.  If all of the extended
warrants were exercised, Epitope would realize additional proceeds of over
$35 million.  The company has realized over $33 million in proceeds from the
exercise of warrants in the past four years.
    Epitope, Inc. is a biotechnology company that develops and markets medical
diagnostic products and, through its agricultural unit, superior new plant
varieties.
    This release includes forward-looking statements which are subject to
factors described in Epitope's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended
September 30, 1995, and other documents filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission.  These factors include unexpected interruption of supply or
manufacturing operations, changes in its marketing partners' strategy or
emphasis, development of competing products, market acceptance of oral testing
changes in insurance industry practices, unexpected delays in obtaining state
approvals, changes in federal or state law or regulations, and changes in
Epitope's business strategy.

Source: EPITOPE Inc.


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