Novozymes, the Danish multinational specialist in microbial and enzyme technologies, is working with FMC Agro on enzyme-based insecticides.

The multi-year global agreement between the partners will combine Novozymes’ enzyme-based biocontrol technology with FMC insecticides, particularly the FMC diamide insecticide active ingredient. The first pest target in the programme is Asian soybean rust (ASR), a major fungal disease of soybeans which is a major problem in South America. The companies believe that enzyme biocontrol technology can both support stand-alone products as well as a role in integrated pest management on farm.

The two companies will combine their respective R&D capabilities, with FMC acting as the commercial partner and Novozymes providing the manufacturing partner. FMC’s European head office is adjacent to Novozymes’ headquarters just north of Copenhagen.

The partnership will leverage Novozymes’ enzyme biocontrol technology development to date, and the companies will work closely together to unlock the potential and seek the necessary approvals to commercialize the technology in the relevant global markets. They expect the biocontrol market to show double digit growth for the foreseeable future as the world seeks a more sustainable approach to crop protection.

Novozymes has recently increased its investment in its longstanding BioAg business, a more flexible multi-partner setup exploring biocontrol and bioyield products for agriculture.

“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,” says Novozymes’ president and chief executive Ester Baiget Arnau. “Our core enzyme capabilities and technology have potential to now pioneer an important role in pest control in agriculture.”

For FMC, president and chief executive Mark Douglas adds: “We look forward to partnering with Novozymes in bringing enzymatic technology to the crop protection market. 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.”