FMC Corporation, an agricultural sciences company, has announced a definitive agreement to acquire BioPhero ApS, a Danish pheromone research and production company.
The acquisition adds biologically produced pheromone insect control technology to FMC’s product portfolio and R&D pipeline.
BioPhero has pioneered a yeast fermentation process for manufacturing pheromones at lower costs and with fewer production steps compared to competitors’ traditional chemical synthesis methods.
Lower costs expand the pheromone addressable market from today’s focus on specialty fruit and vegetables to now include the large row crop market. FMC expects pheromones and pheromone-based products to contribute approximately $1 billion in revenue at above company-average EBITDA margin by 2030.
“This acquisition demonstrates our continuing commitment to invest in biologicals and adjacent technologies, expanding our world-class portfolio while advancing sustainable agriculture,” said Mark Douglas, FMC president and chief executive officer.
“BioPhero is a pioneer in the production of pheromones through a unique, highly efficient bioprocessing method—a game-changer in pheromone manufacturing technology. FMC’s broad market access, leadership position in the high-value insecticide market, formulation know-how and application expertise provide significant opportunities to bring sustainably advantaged pheromone technology to more agricultural markets around the world. We look forward to adding an extensive pheromone platform to our biologicals business and welcoming the BioPhero team to FMC.”
“BioPhero is excited by the opportunity to accelerate our development and the road to market with the objective to make pheromones widely available,” said Irina Borodina, co-founder and chief scientific officer of BioPhero.
“Given FMC’s leadership position in the development of biological plant health products, manufacturing and formulation expertise, and existing operations in Denmark, we believe FMC is an excellent company to take this business forward. FMC’s global market access and significant investments in R&D will accelerate our ability to bring highly advanced pheromone insect control technology to growers around the world.”
Use of pheromones
Pheromones can be used in an integrated pest management program to control the buildup of insect populations in farmers’ fields by disrupting the insect mating process, reducing overall egg-laying by adults and decreasing the next generation of the target insect population.
FMC said pheromones do not have an impact on the environment, promote biodiversity and do not harm beneficial insects, such as pollinators, since they precisely target specific pests.
“FMC directs 100% of its R&D investments to discover and develop more sustainable products,” said Kathleen Shelton, FMC executive vice president and chief technology officer.
“We’re excited to add BioPhero’s innovative pheromone molecules to our new product pipeline, and we expect to launch five new pheromone products over the next three to five years. The opportunities for advanced biomanufacturing technology extend well beyond insect control. Working together, we can significantly expand the use of fermentation technologies across a wider set of crops targeting a variety of pests, including fungi and weeds.”
Biotech is key
Novo Holdings A/S, science investor focused on creating long-term value, has supported BioPhero for six years.
“Novo Holdings believes that biotechnology is a key component in the transition towards a more sustainable society,” said Søren Møller, managing partner at Novo Holdings.
“The technology developed by BioPhero is an excellent example of using nature’s own pheromones to combat pests in a safe and yet efficient way. Novo Holdings has invested in BioPhero since inception and has renewed its commitment to the company in each financing round. We are very satisfied to see the rapid development of the company, and this sale demonstrates that FMC shares our vision of introducing new sustainable solutions in agriculture.”
The purchase price of approximately $200 million will be paid at closing. Following regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary closing conditions, the acquisition of BioPhero is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter 2022.