Bio-Gene Technology committed to addressing the global problems of insecticide resistance and toxicity
Jun. 24, 2020
AgroPages recently interviewed Richard Jagger, CEO & MD of Bio-Gene Technology to seek his views on Bio-Gene Technology’s business highlights, products and special advantages, target markets, as well as current collaborations with other companies.
Richard Jagger, CEO & MD of Bio-Gene Technology
Q1. Could you briefly introduce Bio-Gene Technology?
Bio-Gene Technology Limited is developing new, novel insecticides based on natural molecules. These molecules are quite unique in that they have a novel insecticidal “Model of Action”, which means they work very differently to all other chemistry used as insecticides. That’s important, because when insects have not been exposed to these molecules before, then they have not had the opportunity to develop resistance to them. Resistance is a major issue in controlling pests that attack our crops and animals, and spread disease. Our toxicology testing to date suggest our products are very safe for use in environments where insecticides are used, and have very little impact on important “beneficial” species such as bees.
Bio-Gene is an Australian-based company, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. With our significant knowledge and experience within the industry, we have many connections to the global worlds of Agriculture, Public and Animal Health, as well as the Consumer Products market. Our business model is to work with the leaders in each of the market segments where we believe our technology offers significant value, and partner with them to create new products to address the issues of insect control.
Bio-Gene conducted an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in November 2017, and since then has generated significant data on the performance of our products, which has enabled us to hold meaningful conversations with many global companies. Many of those companies have since begun testing of our products in-house, and from there we already have two significant collaborations progressing towards potential commercial products, one with BASF - the largest chemical company in the world - looking at pests that impact grain while it is held in storage, and Clarke Mosquito Control, a company that leads the way in controlling mosquitoes that spread diseases that severely impact humans around the globe.
Q2. Could you talk about Bio-Gene Technology's products and its special advantages, as well as its innovation and application value?
Bio-Gene has two lead products - Qcide®, an all-natural product which is the oil extract of a rare chemovar of a Eucalyptus species, and Flavocide®, a “nature identical molecule”. Flavocide is found in nature but only in small quantities, so working with the CSIRO - Australia’s leading research institute - we have developed a new synthesis process for making the identical molecule as found in nature. As these molecules work by a novel Mode of Action, they are able to control pests that are resistant to other chemistries, this is very important as there are very few available products in the world today that can be effective at controlling pests resistant to commonly used insecticides such as the pyrethroid group. The world needs additional chemistry in order to manage the battle against resistant pests, and the development of new products is very rare.
Bio-Gene has been talking to potential commercial partners who operate across all of the major use areas for insecticides, being crop protection, stored grain, public health, animal health, and consumer products. Globally the wholesale Insecticide market is valued at US$32 billion annually and is being targeted by Bio-Gene with a number of end-use-products.
Q3. What are the target markets of Bio-Gene Technology? What are the plans to develop new products and extend new markets/regions?
The target markets initially are Stored Grain Pest Control, and Vector Control targeting mainly mosquitoes that carry diseases such as malaria, Dengue fever and Zika Virus. We also see great potential in control of crop production pests and as consumer products (household sprays, personal repellents) and in animal health (both production and companion animals). We will continue to work with our collaboration partners to develop products suitable for commercialisation around the world.
Q4. Could you talk about Bio-Gene Technology's current collaborations with other companies?
As mentioned, we have been working with a number of global companies already testing our technology. We have announced two significant collaborations - one with BASF relating to Stored Grain pests, and one with Clarke regarding mosquito control. We are also fortunate to have a collaboration with the Grains Research and Development Corporation in Australia to assist in the development of Stored grain pest control products.
Q5. What's the development planning of your company over the next 3-5 years?
Bio-Gene aims to strengthen the relationships with the companies we currently have collaborations with, as well progressing programs with other companies and projects. We are fortunate that there are many applications for the technology, so we can work with many companies simultaneously. Ultimately our aim is to bring the products to market, with our collaboration partners, and assist the world in controlling insect pests to ensure high standards of public health, food security and environmental protection.
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