Nov. 1, 2017
1. As we know, SCC is a famous independent and neutral consulting company. Could you please introduce more details about what services SCC can provide to customers?
Starting mainly with plant protection related work in 1989, SCC has greatly expanded its expertise during these almost 30 years, nowadays providing full-scale regulatory services for agrochemicals and biopesticides, including biostimulants and fertilisers as well as biocides, chemicals/REACH, cosmetics and consumer products, feed and food additives, and food contact materials.
2: What advantages make SCC stand out from the competition?
For almost 30 years, we have been extending our regulatory and scientific expertise to perfectly meet the needs of our more than 200 active customers, with some having been our partners from the very beginning. On behalf of plant protection industry, we have successfully defended more than 75 chemical and biological active substances and more than 500 national registrations for biological and chemical products. We have filed a multitude of national registrations/authorisations for biostimulant-related products, such as plant strengtheners, plant and soil aids as well as fertilisers. This huge experience gained over almost three decades is one of the most important assets of SCC. In addition, SCC is privately owned and independent and thus a neutral scientific consulting company which our clients find to their advantage.
3: What are the main markets for SCC? What growth plans would you like to share for your company’s future?
Originally focusing on the European markets, we have increasingly been gaining international expertise, opening new markets for our customers in the Asia-Pacific region and Americas. Alongside with our headquarters in Bad Kreuznach (Germany) and our office in Berlin, we have been running a liaison office in Japan for 10 years. Expanding our business and expertise, we still place high value on constituent and steady growth.
Due to the scientific progress, the increasing awareness of consumers on environmental and food safety issues and the regulatory changes in recent years, biopesticides, biostimulants, Integrated Pest Management and Precision Farming have become of more and more interest for farmers, the public and thus for our clients. SCC is active in the registration of biopesticides for more than 20 years and, following the demands of our customers, a team of SCC experts is solely dedicated to the work on biopesticides and biostimulants and closely related issues such as IPM, Organic Production or Precision Agriculture/Precision Farming.
4: Recent years, some agricultural legislation in the European Union, such as Regulation 1107/2009 or new data requirements (Regulations 283/2013 and 284/2013) have been published. How does these legislation affect the registration of biopesticide in Europe?
The comprehensive package of new legislation published in 2009, including Regulation 1107/2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, Directive 2009/128 on the sustainable use of pesticides and Regulation 1185/2009 concerning statistics on pesticides have set a completely new framework for biocontrol and biopesticides, introducing for example basic and low risk substances or making IPM mandatory for European agriculture. On the one hand, this increased interest of manufacturers in biopesticide a.s. approvals and product authorisations in EU. On the other hand - at least theoretically - in the beginning this also increased planning reliability for companies.
5: Compared with the registration of traditional chemical pesticides, what are the challenges for the registration of biopesticides?
Some of the main challenges do not differ between traditional chemical pesticides and biopesticides such as the lack of harmonisation or the time lags in a.s. and product evaluations. As biopesticides are often manufactured and registered by SMEs, the resulting lack of planning reliability and delays in entry onto the market, have a more negative impact on biopesticides than on traditional chemicals.
One of the main challenges for biopesticides is the lack, or sketchiness, of respective guidance and guidelines. At present this is especially true for the possible new definitions of the low risk criteria for micro-organisms. Not showing multiple resistance to anti-microbials used in human or veterinary medicine, every micro-organism in general qualifies for being low risk (draft SANTE/12376/2015 ANNEX 1). But, as the first evaluations and comments from national authorities imply, there may be a lot of exceptions and additional restrictions on a micro-organism-(strain?)-specific basis. Thus, it is to be suspected that exceptions from the rule will become the rule. This of course will reduce the confidence of possible manufacturers and registrants in the EU biopesticide market.
Another major problem is, that scientific argumentation and rationales are often not accepted to the full extent of their relevance or not at all and some authorities or EFSA use a more regulatory approach as for traditional chemical a.s. But due to the huge variety of biological a.s. (botanicals, bacteria, fungi, viruses, semiochemicals etc.) and their often very complex characteristics, a purely scientific approach is much-needed.
6: As more major multinationals have entered the biopesticides arena in recent years, how do you think these M&A in the biopesticide industry? And how does this affect SCC’s business?
The increasing interest of multinationals in biopesticides is already quite evident. In general, the first signal for the whole market was positive as their increasing interest implied a market, growing in the future, thus giving biopesticides an additional stimulus. On the other hand SMEs often invested a lot of R&D in their a.s. and products thus gaining a huge expertise over the decades. Loss of these small but often very innovative and experienced companies due to M&As also resulted in a loss of this potential. On the other hand, in other cases, M&As gave the backbone to and platform for SMEs to increase investments and dedication in biopesticides.
As any other company working in this area, SCC is affected by these general trends and changes of course. On company level, M&As have no impact on SCC business since SCC provides its independent full-scale regulatory services for SMEs as well as multinationals or consortia.
Download AgroPages' latest magazine - 2017 Biopesticide Supplement for more articles