The current crop protection chemicals, especially insecticides, are dominated by synthetically derived compounds that cause harm to the environment and humans alike. They also have long developmental cycles, delaying the time to market. Most of the available biological alternatives do not have the same efficacy as synthetic ones and are not scalable to large quantities. Therefore, there is a need for viable, efficient alternatives for synthetic crop protection chemicals.
The company has developed a proprietary peptide platform that can help in the development of various peptide-based active ingredient formulations with a broad spectrum of curative action. The developed technology, which is based on natural ICK-type peptides, has similar efficacy as small molecule synthetics and is characterized by large binding sites that make building of resistance difficult when compared to synthetics. The technology platform has overcome the common issues related to peptide size and cysteine stabilization, which are key challenges in peptide-based formulations.
The peptide technology helps in the development of various crop protection products with high bioavailability. The first insecticide product family is intended for use on both greenhouse vegetables and ornamental crops and on both high-value and major row crop fields. While the product family is designed to target the main insects in the greenhouse segment, it is focused on the entire Bt spectrum in the row crops segment. The tests and trials conducted on the resultant products exhibited neither phytotoxicity nor toxic residues. Another key advantage of the technology is that it is designed to be safe not only for humans, mammals, and birds but also for beneficials and honeybees.
The peptide technology finds extensive application in the agricultural industry as a crop protection solution. At present, the technology is being used for developing bio-pesticides/insecticides; however, it has the ability to be used across all aspects of crop protection in both greenhouse and field crop agriculture. It also has the potential for use as fungicides, antimicrobials and so on. Apart from agriculture, the peptide technology can also find application in the pharma industry for single domain antibodies.
Market growth for bio-based pesticide technologies and products is being fueled by an increasing demand for crop protection solutions that are sustainable in nature and do not cause environmental damage and safety issues for humans and animals. While traditional chemical-based insecticides have high efficacy, they are not sustainable in nature and are increasingly prone to resistance in targeted insects. New chemical-based active ingredients are also difficult to commercialize due to the increasing developmental costs and regulatory challenges. Therefore, there is a need for technologies that are environmentally benign and sustainable and have the same, if not higher efficacy, as synthetics and do not cause resistance among targeted species of insects or bugs. According to Frost & Sullivan, the pesticides market in North America and Western Europe was worth $24.08 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach $28.76 billion by the end of 2018 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6%.