FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC), a leading global agricultural sciences company, has entered into a strategic collaboration with Novozymes, the world leader in biological solutions, to research, co-develop and commercialize biological enzyme-based crop protection solutions for growers around the world.
Collaboration between the two companies will concentrate on enzyme-based biocontrol technology for the global fungicide and insecticide markets under a multi-year global agreement. The partnership will focus on developing solutions for controlling key soybean fungal diseases such as Asian Soybean Rust (ASR), in addition to combination products with FMC’s leading diamide insecticide technology for controlling key insect pests.
The companies will combine their respective R&D 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.
“We look forward to partnering with Novozymes in bringing enzymatic technology to the crop protection market,” said Mark Douglas, FMC president and chief executive officer. “FMC is committed to delivering differentiated biological products that provide growers with science-backed solutions to help sustainably manage crops, protect yields and combat resistance. The use of enzymes in agriculture is an exciting new frontier for biologicals.”
“We see FMC as a great partner with strong scientific and commercial capabilities – and, importantly, a clear commitment to biological solutions,” says Ester Baiget Arnau, Novozymes’ president and chief executive officer. “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 where FMC is an ideal commercial partner.”
According to Novozymes and FMC, enzyme biocontrol technology is a new, differentiated tool to address significant challenges around pest management. As a stand-alone product or an integrated solution, enzymes can deliver high performance with the environmental benefits of a biological. The companies believe 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.
“Enzymes are a relatively untapped solution in the agricultural market,” said Dr. Bénédicte Flambard, global director of FMC Plant Health. “This unique technology will provide a high level of performance and stability that will complement synthetic chemistry. A lower cost of entry will enable use in the row crop markets where growers desire high-performing, sustainable solutions with new modes of action to combat hard-to-control diseases and pests. We are biased for new mode of action molecules, which can better control pests that are building resistance to existing products.”
Since 2013, FMC has built a world-class biologicals business with more than 30 biological products in the market across more than 45 countries, 12 biofungicides, bioinsecticides and bionematicides in its R&D pipeline, and a dedicated biologicals research center in Denmark.
The company’s Accudo biostimulant was recognized at the 2020 Crop Science Forum and Awards in the Best New Biological Product (Biostimulant) category. In 2019, Presence and Quartzo bionematicides received top honors in the Best New Biological Product (Biopesticide) category. FMC plans to launch four new biopesticides from its pipeline over the next four years and is actively assessing additional partnerships to develop and commercialize a diversity of new biological technologies.