Virbac, the French multinational animal health company, is to collaborate with an Australian biotech company to develop a natural plant extract as an insecticide to control external parasites of ruminants.

It is working with Melbourne-based Bio-Gene, the developer of a new class of insecticides based on the β-triketone compound. This was discovered through a botanical screening program searching Australian flora. Bio-Gene’s patented lead molecule Flavocide is a synthesised flavesone product identical to the naturally occurring one.

The agreement will see the two companies evaluate Flavocide as a new agent for the control of ticks, flies and lice in ruminant animals. Virbac will contribute its expertise in obtaining the necessary registration-enabling studies and international product registration activities to comply with different market requirements around the world.

“This collaboration provides a significant opportunity for large scale development and future marketing of Flavocide internationally, by accessing Virbac’s proven expertise and networks,” says Bio-Gene chief executive officer Robert Klupacs.