Bio-Gene lands major mosquito control deal in the Americas
Health & Biotech
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Special Report: Insecticide developer Bio-Gene is lining up deals, with the latest to see its products used in public health mosquito control across the Americas.
Agtech development company Bio-Gene Technology’s (ASX:BGT) novel insecticide will be used to control mosquitos and the diseases they spread across the Americas, thanks to a new partnership with Clarke Mosquito Control.
The deal will see its insecticide technologies, Flavocide and Qcide, developed for use in public health mosquito control in North, South and Central America.
“This partnership is an important milestone in Bio-Gene’s commercialisation strategy and a major advancement for our technology in the very significant public health vertical,” Bio-Gene CEO and managing director Richard Jagger said.
“This agreement with Clarke provides the opportunity to expand into other markets and is very valuable for our discussions with other stakeholders including for example NGOs and philanthropists to further develop commercialisation opportunities in the public health space.”
In 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated the worldwide insecticide market in public health to be worth A$6.7bn and it says more than half of the world’s population is at risk from vector borne diseases, with Malaria, Dengue and Zika resulting in over 700,000 deaths every year.
Bio-Gene is developing the next generation of novel insecticides that address insecticide resistance while also offering protection to beneficial insects, such as bees. It says this latest deal validates its technology in the public health sector.
Clarke is the largest vertically integrated company serving the public health mosquito control market.
Expertise in service as well as products means Clarke has been on the front line in nearly every major US-based mosquito-borne disease outbreak since the introduction of the West Nile Virus in New York City in 1999. It helped Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Michigan combat the outbreak of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in 2019 and led the response to the Zika virus in Florida in 2016.
Bio-Gene signed a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) with Clarke in August 2019 to allow initial testing of Flavocide and Qcide on three significant mosquito species; Anopheles, Aedes and Culex.
The trials assessed whether Flavocide and Qcide controlled these mosquito species as measured by knockdown and mortality.
As a result of the initial findings, this new agreement will focus on evolving formulations for both Flavocide and Qcide, in combination with other active ingredients, to determine a potential commercial formulation.
In December, Bio-Gene’s own research at Purdue University confirmed Flavocide controlled the Anopheles mosquito species, which carries Malaria and is increasingly resistant to commonly used insecticides.
Combined with previous trial work, the company has now demonstrated Flavocide’s effectiveness against resistant populations of the major mosquito species that carry diseases of such global importance as Malaria, Zika virus and Dengue fever.
The deal with Clarke is the second evaluation partnership for the company, with the first being with global agriculture giant BASF.
“This partnership represents the second for Bio-Gene, following the stored grain pest control partnership with BASF, that was announced in September 2019. The market continues to have a significant and growing interest in the natural basis of our technology and the potential to deliver new solutions,” Jagger said.
Bio-Gene now has eight MTAs in place spanning its four key verticals of crop protection, grain storage, public health and consumer products.
The company is currently speaking with several other international companies, many of which have received samples of Flavocide and Qcide via MTAs under which they will undertake their own testing.
Its insecticides are based on a naturally occurring class of chemicals known as beta-triketones which have demonstrated insecticidal activity and are focused on beating insecticide resistance.
Resistance to insecticides is an ever-increasing issue, and finding new products is rare. There are now 586 insect species resistant to at least one insecticide, according to WHO, and on average over 140,000 molecules must be screened to discover a new compound.