Novozymes, FMC Enter Enzyme-based Pest Control Market

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Novozymes, the world’s largest industrial biotechnology company with U.S. headquarters in North Carolina, is branching out into “pest control agritechnology.”

The Danish company, which maintains a campus in Franklinton and an R&D facility in the Triangle, says it is pioneering a “promising” enzyme-based technology to control major pests in agriculture, expanding beyond its current base of microbial products.

The end result could mean saving billions of dollars in damage each year.

“While early, we see a lot of potential in the enzyme biocontrol technology to complement our current innovation and provide highly efficacious yet sustainable pest-control solutions for farmers globally – making a real impact in addressing the major challenges to chemical pesticide usage,” said Ester Baiget Arnau, Novozymes’ president and CEO.

The global biological control market is projected to grow at around 14.7 percent between 2020-2025, according to ResearchandMarkets.com.

The increasing cost of chemical inputs, their adverse effect on soil mass and environment and the increasing awareness regarding balanced plant nutrition are the major factors driving the market demand in the country.

“Against that backdrop, effective biological pest control solutions are in high demand,” Novozymes said.

Strategic alliance

As part of Novozymes’ entry into the biocontrol segment, the company is joining forces with FMC, a Philadelphia-based agricultural sciences company, to “research, co-develop, and commercialize” biological enzyme-based crop protection solutions for growers around the world.

Under a multi-year global agreement, the partnership will focus on two segments: developing solutions for controlling key soybean fungal diseases such as Asian soybean rust; and targeting combination products with FMC's leading diamide insecticide technology for controlling key insect pests.

The companies will combine their respective research and development capabilities -- with FMC serving as commercial partner and Novozymes as the manufacturing partner.

“The partnership will leverage Novozymes' technology to date, and FMC will help expedite and improve the success rate in identifying innovative biological crop protection products by assessing multiple classes of enzymes at the company's high throughput screening laboratory,” FMC said in a statement.

The enzyme biocontrol technology can potentially support “stand-alone products,” as well as play a “critical role” in providing comprehensive integrated pest management solutions for farmers.

“We see FMC as a great partner with strong scientific and commercial capabilities – and, importantly, a clear commitment to biological solutions,” added Arnau. "Our partnership with FMC is part of our increased efforts to meet the need for sustainable pest control solutions for growers around the world. Together, we will develop innovative biological solutions for key market segments."

Quick stats on the markets, biocontrol, and bioyield

  • Enzymes are proteins, produced by living organisms, which act as catalysts to bring about specific biochemical reactions.
  • The global value of crop production is approximately $2 trillion.
  • The global ag inputs market (seed, pesticides, and fertilizer) is approximately $300 billion – with the market for pesticides approximately $90 billion.

There are two main segments for biologicals:

  • The biocontrol segment in which biological products are used to supplement and replace chemical pesticides to control insects and microbial diseases. Today, this is a $5 billion market.
  • The bioyield segment in which biological products are used to enhance plant nutrition and/or to stimulate plant growth. This market today is about $3 billion.
  • Both biological markets are growing; biocontrol is the fastest growing, forecast to experience double-digit growth for the foreseeable future, doubling in about five years.

Visit the Novozymes website to learn more about its bio ag business, including its biocontrol and bioyield solutions.

Chantal Allam, NCBiotech Writer
Tue, 02/02/2021 - 12:37