−− Dialogue with Darren Anderson, CCO of Vive Crop Protection
Sep. 13, 2016
Q. Could you please briefly introduce Vive Crop Protection and its team background?
We are an agricultural chemicals company committed to developing cutting edge products & technologies which increase farm efficiency & productivity. We create new ways to use trusted pesticides using our Allosperse delivery system, which improves the targeting and performance of pesticide active ingredients. This helps farmers do more with less, reducing the burden that agricultural practices have on the environment, all while increasing crop quality and yields. Our Allosperse technology makes existing products mix better, perform better, and allows them to be used in situations that until now have not been possible.
Our experienced and flexible management team has been working together in the agriculture industry since 2009, and includes our CEO, Keith Thomas, a serial entrepreneur; our VP, Business Development, Tony Zatylny, who has 32 years of ag industry experience and our VP, Product Development, Paul Thomson, who has 27 years of experience in crop protection product development. Our Board of Directors includes Charlie Fischer, ex-CEO, Dow Agrosciences; Amy Yoder, ex-President, Arysta North America; and Warren Libby, ex-President, Syngenta Canada. The company was originally founded based on technology developed in the lab of noted surface scientist Professor Cynthia Goh at the University of Toronto.
As a team, we are open to new ways of doing business and use innovative solutions to readily unlock new possibilities for our customers.
Q. Could you please introduce Vive's proprietary AllosperseTM delivery system and its innovative and application value?
All pesticides need a delivery system to be effective - this is the basis of formulation science. With traditional formulations, the behaviour of a pesticide can be modified in some limited ways. Each formulation type is really designed to fix a single problem with the physical and chemical characteristics inherent to the pesticide. As an example, one pesticide might break down rapidly in water, and so a dry formulation is developed to prevent it from reacting with water in storage. A herbicide might have poor foliar penetration, so an adjuvant is built into the package to help the herbicide get into the plant and be effective. Many other examples exist.
These traditional formulations are limited by the fact that the formulation ingredients separate from the pesticide in the spray tank, and any properties they give to the pesticide don’t last very long. Encapsulation-based formulations are the main way a pesticide performance can be improved for a longer period of time, e.g. to release slowly or reduce UV breakdown. However, manufacture of microencapsulated products is very expensive, and it is difficult to ‘tune’ the microcapsules to help give the pesticides inside different properties.
The Allosperse Delivery System is a polymer-based delivery system with extremely high tunability. Just like microencapsulated systems, we use polymer particles associated with pesticide to change how the pesticide behaves. However, we can produce many different types of polymer particles with different internal and external chemical properties. The inside can be tuned for optimal association with the pesticide, while the outside can be tuned for whatever property we are looking to give the pesticide. In addition to tunability, the polymer particles we use are nanoscale in size, which can improve performance in several important ways. Our first products have been designed to have increased compatibility in high-salt environments such as starter fertilizers, by building polymer particles that have extremely high salt tolerance and using them to carry the pesticide into the fertilizer. We have also developed polymers that improve the ability of products to reach targets below the soil surface, as well as polymers that optimize the sticking to and uptake into foliage.
The technology can be readily applied across multiple crops and/or active ingredients. Vive's first products are AZteroid™, Bifender™, and Fenstro™, but there is a deep pipeline of products under development.
Q. Could you please introduce the crop protection products based on AllosperseTM delivery system and its application situation?
Our first two products, AZteroid™ fungicide and Bifender™ insecticide are worry-free, convenient and easy-to-use products that mix uniformly with liquid fertilizers.
It is well-known that using starter fertilizer when planting helps get the seedling off to a healthy, fast start; establish a large, vigorous root system; and improve nutrient uptake particularly in cold, wet soils. It’s equally well-known that applying a fungicide or insecticide in-furrow at planting protects the seedling to maximize yield. However, most in-furrow pesticides are not compatible with starter fertilizers and often plug the application equipment. Vive’s AZteroid and Bifender utilize the patented technology of Allosperse to completely solve this issue, delivering the chemical precisely into the liquid fertilizer. Combining a starter fertilizer with AZteroid or Bifender blended in the tank provides additional protection for the growing seedling and maximizes yield potential.
AZteroid contains azoxystrobin and provides broad-spectrum control for a variety of seed and seedling diseases in corn, soybeans, potatoes, cotton, and peanuts, and several other crops. Use of an at-plant fungicide increases seedling growth and vigor, and leads to faster, more uniform emergence. In the past, applying fungicide and starter fertilizer simultaneously has relied on complex and expensive equipment solutions ultimately leading to inconsistent field performance. AZteroid is the first fungicide designed for direct mixing with liquid fertilizer right in the spray tank for a worry-free, consistent, high-performing application.
Bifender contains bifenthrin and provides broad-spectrum control of many serious insect pests dwelling at or below the soil surface for corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes and peanuts. Bifender has the same excellent fertilizer compatibility as AZteroid and can be tank-mixed with AZteroid by growers who want to simultaneously control seedling disease and soil borne insect pests. Bifender is particularly useful when applied to seed that has not received a seed treatment, but both Bifender and AZteroid can also be used to provide extra protection to treated seed. In-furrow application helps provide a broader area of control on already-treated seed by covering the area around the seed and in the furrow. This increases protection for a growers’ key investment in getting the seedling off to a great start.
Vive has also launched Fenstro, which contains the fungicide azoxystrobin and the insecticide bifenthrin. It is the first combination insecticide / fungicide designed for control of piercing / sucking foliar insects such as soybean aphids. In addition to controlling insect pests, the fungicide provides disease control for any disease entering the plant due to the damage caused by the insect pests.
Q. Could the AllosperseTM technology be expanded to more crop protection products and application areas?
We have a deep pipeline of products under development. In addition to our fertilizer-compatible launch products and our unique combination products, we have second and third generation products under development. For these second and third generation products we have designed how the Allosperse polymer shuttles behave to improve the performance of soil-applied and foliarly applied products, helping growers do more with less and creating new ways growers can use existing products. Look forward to more information from Vive as we move towards launching these products.
Q. Could you talk about the cooperation situation and criteria with other companies?
We work with many other agrochemical companies to improve their products using the Allosperse Delivery System. We view ourselves as being the “Intel Inside” in these unique products as they hit the market. We will partner with anyone who wants to develop unique, high-value products that create new possibilities for growers.
Q. What is the market expanding plan of the AllosperseTM technology? What is your vision for the technology?
We view Allosperse as a critical component to innovation in agriculture. Industry consolidation and increased regulatory barriers mean that fewer new active ingredients are being developed each year. We, as an industry, need to find new techniques to improve existing active ingredients, to help them be used in new ways. Delivery systems that help improve how the active ingredients behave can provide a new life to older chemistry, as well as improving environmental impact. Our first products are targeted at field crops in North America, but we plan to expand with future products to fruit and vegetable as well as the turf and ornamental markets. We also plan to expand geographically, either directly or with key multinational, regional, or national distribution partners.
If readers or new partners are interested in discussing opportunities in their region, they should contact firstname.lastname@example.org and Vive will get them in touch with the right people.
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