Bee Vectoring Technologies Announces Strategic European Developments
Mississauga, ON Canada and Sacramento, CA USA (March 4, 2021) – Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. (the “Company” or “BVT”) (CSE: BEE) (OTCQB: BEVVF) (CVE:BEE) today announced a progress update for entry into Europe, including key investments to accelerate timelines into this key global market.
- Switzerland established as a strategic entry point into Europe with registration in advanced stages, new HQ and R&D center operating smoothly, and more than 28 European grower trials successfully completed.
- EU grower community targeted through in-licensing and commercial partnerships: registration of synergistic products will possibly short-cut market entry by 1-2 years.
- Partnerships engaged in countries that export to Europe (e.g., Turkey and Morocco) will help meet European consumer demand for sustainably-grown produce. Deals pending final results.
- Started preparation for submission of BVT proprietary biological plant protection product CR-7 for pan-EU regulatory approval.
More than any other region in the world, growers throughout Europe are increasingly seeking non-chemical alternatives to help with disease management, improve yields and meet an ever-vigilant consumer. This is further reinforced by the political and regulatory climate where the European Commission is pushing for sustainability in agriculture with recently announced policies under the umbrella of the European Green Deal.
“BVT’s natural precision agricultural system offers the European market a new natural breakthrough innovation,” said Dr. Claude Flueckiger, independent director for BVT and agroindustry consultant based in Switzerland. “As a result of chemical crop protection products becoming increasingly disfavored, European growers have access to fewer and fewer tools to manage their crops. This trend creates a perfect entry point for BVT’s biological solution which can meet strict environmental requirements.”
To meet this favorable trend, BVT has made significant progress in its European market strategy, with activity in four key areas:
- Building Switzerland as an R&D base and beachhead for the European market
The Company is currently in the late stages of the application process for Swiss regulatory approval and has established an R&D center and European office in Switzerland’s Agri & Co Innovation Center, where it joins other innovators in a flourishing ag-tech community. This facility has been in operation for more than a year now and was financed by the state of Freiburg as a part of the Agri & Co Challenge award to BVT. It will be used to showcase the Company’s technology for industry partners and stakeholders, including being a likely location for demos for growers from neighboring EU countries.
The center is being managed by BVT’s Business Manager for Europe, Africa and Middle East, Christoph Lehnen, a well-connected industry veteran with over 35 years of experience including 17 years with Syngenta and the remaining with legacy companies in Marketing, R&D and Sales roles. “We’ve built up a knowledge base for European growing practices and are using the Campus to fine-tune our value proposition and fast-track our launch,” said Mr. Lehnen. “The Swiss regulatory approval process is in advanced stages with requests from the authorities having been answered with reasoned cases; and we can use the work we’ve done there for BVT’s eventual EU regulatory submission.”
BVT completed more than 28 successful European trials in multiple crops. One recent successful example of a field trial is with a major berry grower in Switzerland, Rass Wildbeeren, which successfully tested the system in its fields and is expanding testing of the BVT system this year. “The BVT system is easy to use and there’s no need to spray water, use a tractor, or use oil or CO2,” says Simon Rass, co-founder of Rass Wildbeeren. “We are happy with the results. There was no botrytis cinerea on the berries, shelf life is much better, and our crop yielded 90-95% “first class” berries – up from our standard 70-80%.”
- Partnering and licensing activities for business acceleration
The Company is in advanced discussions with potential partners in Europe covering product access and commercial go-to-market arrangements. In-licensing partnerships will give BVT product access and potentially get to revenue in the EU 1-2 years faster by bypassing certain time-consuming registration requirements, and offer EU growers third-party biocontrols delivered more precisely through the Company’s proprietary system.
European proof-of-concept field trials with a third-party biological insecticide and fungicide were completed successfully last fall with positive efficacy results, which means BVT is a step closer to in-licensing agreements with third parties and unlocking multiple new revenue streams. The Company is now collaborating with two EU-based partners to develop the framework for an agreement for products that already have the basic active ingredient registered in the EU.
In parallel to the product access discussions, the Company is discussing commercial arrangements with potential partners who have established sales and marketing channels for the most important European markets, including for Switzerland. These could be part of, or in addition to, the in-licensing arrangements.
- Targeting major export-oriented countries that supply Europe with key crops
BVT is also addressing European consumer demands for sustainably grown fresh produce by targeting adjacent countries which export significantly to the EU market. These countries typically have faster registration processes that will help BVT in the mid-term gain access into the European market through their exports of fresh produce. The Company is in discussion with well-established commercial partners in neighboring countries that will take the Company’s system to their local market of growers.
“BVT is actively pursuing a partnership in Morocco and we have on-going discussions with a company in Turkey. One potential partner that has been in the Moroccan market for decades has already rolled out a significant trial program for strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and tomato crops where results are expected in the first half of 2021, followed by contract negotiations” continued Mr. Lehnen.
- Preparation for submission of BVT CR-7 for regulatory approval in EU
BVT is working with regulatory consultants in Europe to develop the best strategy to pursue submission for the EU regulatory approval process of its proprietary biological plant protection product CR-7 (Clonostachys rosea strain CR-7). The Company could kick start EU submission later in 2021 depending on the outcome of the current exploratory phase.
“Securing approval of our own plant protection product for use in the EU will represent a significant value creation milestone,” said Ashish Malik, CEO of Bee Vectoring Technologies. “This will not only represent a significant asset for the Company, but will also provide BVT with the flexibility to pursue different licensing arrangements (including licensing CR-7 out to companies in other markets) and not be wholly reliant on access to products from third parties.”
EU registration is a multi-stage, lengthy process that requires careful planning and strategy. The process includes an in-depth review with the EU central authorities, followed by end-use approvals with the countries where the Company plans to sell to growers.
BVT, an agriculture technology company, is a market disruptor with a significant global market opportunity in the $240 billion crop protection and fertilizer market. BVT has pioneered a natural precision agriculture system that replaces chemical pesticides and wasteful plant protection product spray applications by delivering biological pesticide alternatives to crops using commercially grown bees. BVT’s award-winning technology, precision vectoring, is completely harmless to bees and allows minute amounts of naturally-derived pesticides (called biologicals) to be delivered directly to blooms, providing improved crop protection and yield results than traditional chemical pesticides – and improving the health of the soil, the microbiome and the environment. Currently, BVT has over 65 granted patents, over 35 patents pending in all major agricultural countries worldwide, and has US EPA registration of its Vectorite™ with CR-7 (EPA Registration No. 90641-2) for sale as a registered biological fungicide for use on the labeled crops.
Ashish Malik, President & CEO
Babak Pedram, Investor Relations
Virtus Advisory Group
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