Bee Vectoring Q&A with CEO Michael Collinson: Patents and Recent Developments
Bee Vectoring Technologies (BEE:CA), through its innovative technology that harnesses the power of bees, aims to revolutionize the way we approach agriculture by dramatically increasing the efficiency with which pesticides can be delivered. Equities.com got a chance to sit down with Michael Collinson, the President, CEO, and Chairman of Bee Vectoring Technologies, and talk to him about the exciting new process his company is developing.
Equities: What does executive Albert Bassi Jr. bring to the table?
Michael Collinson: Bobby, as we call him has been with Syngenta for 35 years and has been instrumental in bringing new products to market in the pesticidal area. He’s well versed with crops, growers and the requirements for bringing new products to market. In addition to that he is extremely competent in the management of field trials and demonstrations which are required as part of efficacy testing for regulatory processes. His prior knowledge and experience allows us to access influential growers and he understands the processes and ideas and concepts behind bringing new products to market in the Ag business. He’s an extremely valuable individual.
Equities: Why are your patent applications important to shareholders?
Collinson: Patents are always important to companies. They are a key asset to a company and in the case of Bee Vectoring Technology, because this is a worldwide application, the same disease such as botrytis is found all around the world. The BVT process obviously has application around the world. As a company we have three families of patents that are being filed in 40 different countries, so the end of the day we’ll end up with about a 120 patents in total. Our product portfolio and our patent portfolio is very important to the company because it protects us with the technology that has taken 15 to 20 years to develop. That is the important part and the fact that they’re actually being granted is why we put out the news releases indicates to shareholders not only are the patents good, just because you applied for it does not mean you are necessarily granted them. BVT patent application have been well received by patent officers around the world and they are actually being granted so that is a key element of why these patents news releases are important.
Equities: What is the timeline for new information on those patents and other patents that may be in the pipeline?
Collinson: What happens with patents is you work through patent lawyers in your own country and you submit them through patent lawyers in other countries which is what we’ve been doing. Those patents, those law offices and those patent offices in other countries then take time to review your particular file. Once you have filed it you have some protection and that’s why you see a lot of cases patent pending. Until they actually get reviewed by patent offices in other countries you obviously don’t have a full patent until that is in place. In the case of patents in foreign countries we are already at the mercy of whatever workload they have. In some cases you get patents very quickly and in other cases it takes some time to get them. You really can’t say what the timeline is but I would say over the next two to three years you’re going to see us constantly updating that we’ve got these patents approved.
The other aspect is you can also add to your patents as you go forward. You’re going to see us manage our patent portfolio in a very positive way.
Equities: In recent months I came across a few press releases about how Bee Vectoring reported positive results from key demonstrations on sunflower crops, with US strawberry growers and, I believe a trial on apple crops. Could you give a brief overview of all of those demonstrations.
Collinson: Unfortunately, the trial with the apples did not go ahead. The university elected not to continue with the trial. They confirmed that they were too busy at the time and they couldn’t get to our apple trial. Unfortunately, that fell by the wayside and we will get to that crop next year but we are doing trials on sunflowers. We are actually doing trials on sunflowers and strawberries. The strawberry ones we didn’t report on them. We had extremely good results. We were able to substantially reduce pesticidal load on strawberries and hoop houses in South Carolina and had very significant yield increases in open fields down in Florida where we had 30% plus increase in yield. At the same time we control the principal disease botrytis in a very positive way by eliminating significant quantities of pesticide we were able to maintain the incidence of the disease below acceptable levels. We’re in a very good position with that.
In terms of the sunflowers we have actually four trials going on beginning next week I believe. We have two in North and South Dakota one at NDU university, one in Minnesota. These trials are to test for a disease called Sclerotinia which can be a very devastating and costly disease in both sunflowers and canola. We know our particular bio control, which is used in this process, is effective against the disease and these growers currently have no current system to manage this disease, so not even a chemical that they use with it. They’re extremely excited to try this technology. We anticipate results in late September after harvest. If this technology works obviously it can be implemented in the states. There’s about a 1.5 million acres of sunflowers in those two states. It obviously is a big crop.
At the same time we’re doing trials in Serbia on sunflowers with the University of Belgrade for the same disease. You can see we’re working on multiple continents. These are important trials and the university offered us the opportunity to instigate and begin the commercialization process for BVT in Serbia. They have also agreed to do trials in Raspberries and Serbia is the world largest producer of these berries.
Equities: The commercial lab has been in operation for a few quarters now. What have you guys accomplished and what do you see coming up for future quarters?
Collinson: We built the facility, we started the facility last August and it’s been in operation since late September early October last year. We’ve been producing nonstop through that period. Obviously we’ve learned a lot on that process. We’re becoming extremely efficient in our processes and becoming more efficient in our production. We’re in a very strong position to supply demand as it ramps up.
We’ve also increased our human capital at BVT by hiring very well qualified individuals to assist us in the management of disease control and monitoring how effective our product is against the various diseases that we’re actually trying to manage. These guys are seasoned veterans of the Ag industry and have been very helpful in getting us to market. We are currently doping secondary demonstrations with strawberry growers in the Carolina’s and are seeing more requests for demonstration in Florida by new growers
Equities: For those who do not know you – how best – would you describe your company?
Collinson: BVT is a company that is based around the delivery of biological controls to crops, typically high value crops, like strawberries and sunflowers and raspberries etc. through the use of bees. Bees are natural pollinators and so they visit all flowers in bloom and when they visit each flower we attach a powder to each of the bees by letting them walk through a tray and they pick up a bit of powder and then deliver the biological control to the crops. This is a much better way than the current method of chemicals and the reason for that is, as in all crops, not all crops are getting sprayed exactly the right time, some flowers are not in bloom and this means that the spray will not reach all plants. Imagine an Apple orchard, the bloom can last up to 18 to 20 days. Not every tree is open at exactly the same time and since it is sprayed only 2 or three times, the spray may miss 50% of the trees because they’re not in bloom. Whereas if you use bees it is almost guaranteed to get every bloom through the whole bloom process. BVT is a much better system, much less product but more effective and much more targeted, bio controls exactly where they are needed. We believe that we can be very instrumental in reducing pesticidal load on high value crops. In the over winter trials in USA we were able to significantly reduce the use of chemical pesticides
Equities: That is all I have on my end. Thank you so much for your time Michael.
Collinson: Yes, no problem.
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