The Globe and Mail
Canadian firm using bee technology hires new CEO
Honey bees are a vital pollinator of agricultural crops and it’s not yet known how severely the zombie-fly infestation will affect populations.
Photo Courtesy of: Todd Korol
The Globe and Mail
Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc., the Canadian company that hopes to use bees as a method of delivering crop protection, has recruited a new chief executive officer.
The company said Tuesday that it has appointed Ashish Malik, the former vice-president of marketing and biologics at Bayer CropScience AG, to lead the company as it tries to break into the North American biological crop protection market.
Mr. Malik spent the past four years integrating biological crop protection products into Bayer CropScience’s agricultural strategies. Before that, he worked as senior vice-president of global marketing at AgraQuest Inc., which was acquired by Bayer CropScience in 2012 for $425-million (U.S.).
Mr. Malik will begin his new role Sept. 1, succeeding Michael Collinson, who will stay on with the company as executive chairman.
“The significance of having an industry figure such as Ashish join the company at this early state cannot be overstated,” Mr. Collinson said in a statement. “It is unquestionably a remarkable endorsement of BVT’s products and potential.”
Mr. Malik said his initial goal at BVT is to have the company earning revenue within 12 to 18 months.
BVT offers an alternative to traditional crop spraying used to control crop diseases. The company deploys commercially raised bees to spread specific ingredients that inhibit or eliminate crop diseases. Several farms in North America and Europe have conducted trials of the bee-based system.
“We have a solid foundation with the technology, intellectual property and patents and the basis for building a strong business, but we need to prove it,” Mr. Malik said. “We need to actually get growers to adopt the technology and pay for it. That’s going to be the validation for the company as a long-term player in this industry.”
Mr. Malik said BVT has submitted its first product – a microbial fungicide called CR7 – for regulatory approval in the United States. The company’s initial focus will be on the United States, Canada and Mexico, Mr. Malik said. He hopes to one day expand the company to Europe.
“We know that the market is there,” he said. “There are growers in just about all of the main agriculture markets around the world that want to use alternatives to chemicals.”