Bayer CropScience seeks new registrations, markets

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Bayer CropScience seeks new registrations, markets

With more pesticides being banned across jurisdictions, combined with tightening maximum residue limits (MRLs), the risks of developing crop protection products has risen. For Bayer CropScience, the cost of getting just one molecule to market is around €150-250 million (US$200-333 million), according to horticulture strategic management lead Rob Schrick. At the Produce Marketing Association's (PMA) Fresh Summit event in New Orleans, he told about the strategy needed to bring returns on these investments, and some of the new products and applications in the pipeline.

Schrick says that not only is there a high cost involved in horticultural crop protection discovery projects, but you also need a "crystal ball" to predict conditions in 10-20 years down the track when the product could come to market.

Rob Schrick

Bayer Cropscience's horticulture strategic management lead, Rob Schrick

"You have to anticipate, can the product be registered? Is it going to be in a toxicological profile that will make it through not only the U.S. regulatory bodies but around the world?

"It’s not only the current regulatory structure and governments but the emerging countries. You have to anticipate countries coming online – recent examples are South Korea coming online with a very robust regulatory body and with Latin America as well."

Schrick adds that the onset of new regulatory bodies overseas is not so much an issue of strictness but one of time.

"From an MRL standpoint they’ve [South Korea] been following codex, but now they have a regulatory body that want their own residue trials in-country, so that forces you to do those studies.

"It's not that it can't be accomplished but instead of them referring to the standards that are there, they’re having their own standards that have to be met. Generally it's not a risk."

He says close collaboration is needed with export markets like those in Asia to ensure products comply with new norms.

"A lot of our commodities and products, especially in California, will head directly east so you’ve got to make sure you’re closely aligned with Japan and South East Asia to make sure those markets are open to you."

On the issue of the European Union's neonicotinoid ban, Schrick says there has been an "exceeding abundance of caution".

"We always want to see the science play out in these types of environments. We have to work with the European regulatory authorities – we are, but there are areas we can improve on that, and we’re letting the science speak for the molecules; that's not just with Bayer buy across the marketplace.

"We very much hope that those types of argumentations and data will win the day - we're very confident in our portfolio. It's continually scrutinized, we welcome that scrutiny, and we feel our registrations are very robust.

"Things like this come along – it’s part of our business, we have to deal with them and we are."

New products and markets

In terms of fresh opportunities for Bayer CropScience, Schrick highlights that Bayer's horticultural unit formed 1.5 years ago is bringing new possibilities.

"Not too many discovery companies have a specific horticultural business unit. What they will have generally by indication will be to look into herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and they’ll be focused on the big crops – the corn, the soybean, to some extent cotton and cereals.

"Then, if they have technologies that fit those markets then they’ll see if they work for citrus or grapes.

"With our structure and the way that we run our business is we’ll look specifically at the needs of the horticultural grower and doing discovery for those markets."

Schrick mentions one more recent success is Endaziflam, marketed as Alion and applied as a residual herbicide. Already in use in the U.S., Bayer is in the registration process across a range of jurisdictions, including Latin America.

"Growers are generally spraying a herbicide, likely a glyphosate type of product three or five times in that same window - we're offering that in one spray to offer that residual up to six months.

"When you change a market like that, it's never easy so you have to work closely with the grower. You have to understand what his current practices are and bring him towards it.

Another product spreading its wings is Luna, a fungicide that was registered in the U.S. in 2012 for apples, cherries, tree nuts, wine grapes, potatoes and watermelons. The company intends to have the product registered for a wider range of fruit and vegetable crops in time for the 2015 growing season.

He also anticipates the launch of a biological foliar fungicide called Serenade Optimum that will come on the market soon.


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