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Spanish SME looks for collaboration for the co-development of a novel protein-based, environment-friendly insecticide


Profile Type
Technology offer
POD Reference
Term of Validity
26 January 2024 - 25 January 2025
Company's Country
Type of partnership
Commercial agreement with technical assistanceResearch and development cooperation agreement
Targeted Countries
All countries
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General information

Short Summary
Spanish biotechnology start-up wants to co-develop a solution for the biological control of insect pests of the orders Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. The result is a protein-based product with a high insecticidal potency, covering a broader spectrum of pests with lower impact on the environment and auxiliary fauna than the already existing products. The sought partner should be able to finance costs of the development as well as exploit the product commercially in the markets of its influence.
Full Description
A biotechnological spin-off company from a Spanish university bases its activity on the design, development and production of innovative insecticidal solutions of microbial origin for the control of crop pests, especially insect pests. Its technology and know-how are based on the experience of the founder and CEO of the company, an internationally recognized professor in the field of crop protection for the past 30 years. The company connects the scientific expertise of a research team with the market demand, which translates into a different optic for solving the current problems associated with crop protection that provides value to the farmers in the form of new technologies. The business model is based on innovative elements, result of the commitment to R&D, and the transfer of technology and products to leading companies in the agrochemical industry, strengthening their portfolios of biological products and making them more competitive in the market.

The company is interested in the co-development of a biosynthetic product based on insecticidal proteins of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) for the comprehensive control of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera pest species at the same time. Specifically, it is a protein product free of microorganisms and offers greater biosecurity and lower environmental impact than traditional products based on mixtures of spores and crystals. It is anticipated that these types of products could revolutionize the biological control market, by being more environmentally friendly and offering a broader spectrum of pest control than the currently available bio-based products.

Bt-based products hold the largest market share of bio-based products for insect pest control of the biocontrol market. These consist of mixtures of spores and crystals from natural strains. However, they do have some limitations:

1) Bt crystals are made of a specific number of insecticidal proteins. This means that a given Bt strain will only be good at controlling insect pests within the spectrum of its insecticidal proteins.
2) The insecticidal potency of a Bt-based solution lies in the specific proteins within the parasporal crystals. One of the current limitations of products in the market today is that the crystals of Bt-based products have a certain amount of each insecticidal protein.
3) Bt are arguably one of the safest and most environmentally friendly biological control agents. However, its biosafety is currently being questioned since it is a living microorganism that could potentially produce harmful secondary metabolites. This is evidenced by the practice of irradiation of Bt products to inactivate their spores in some countries.
4) The nature of Bt makes it a very specific pathogen that is widely accepted as safe for other organisms. However, its implementation is not without consequences for natural communities. From an environmental point of view, the spraying of an exotic strain of Bt in a given habitat can affect native microorganisms. In addition, the release of virulence factors unrelated to major insecticidal toxins can extend the range of Bt hosts to non-target organisms.

The product is aimed at controlling the main lepidopteran pests present in agricultural crops. The design would also make it possible to control some beetle pests, thus providing greater versatility to farmers. The spectrum of target insects includes pests present in crops such as soybeans, corn, cotton, tomatoes, peppers or potatoes, among others.

The company is looking for an industry partner who can finance part of the technical development of the product as well as register and commercially exploit the product. The main advantage for the partner who joins the project is the industrial profit from the exploitation of the product in the market.The Spanish company will lead the production and supply of product units to the partner and benefit from royalties based on the net sales of the exploitation of the product.
Advantages and Innovations
1. Genuine composition of crystalline proteins designed for the control of pests belonging to different orders of insects (Lepidoptera and Coleoptera). Currently, there is no product in the market with these characteristics.
2. Increased insecticidal potency. The active ingredient is made of a blend of toxins in a specific proportion that not only determines the spectrum of target pests, but also increases the potency of the active ingredient against them.
3. Protein product lacking spores and secondary metabolites. Therefore, there is no risk of dangerous by-products such as beta-exotoxin. Spore irradiation would not be required for greater public acceptance or concerns about mass spraying. It only contains a very specific combination of proteins with biological pest control properties.
4. Environmentally friendly and no impact on non-target insects. Since no microorganisms are included in the final product, the risk of vegetative cells emerging and releasing additional virulence factors to non-target insects is avoided. The selection of proteins in the final product has the benefit of being more specific than the current Bt products and, therefore, reduces the risk of impact on non-target organisms.
Stage of Development
Under development
Sustainable Development Goals
Goal 2: Zero HungerGoal 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGoal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Partner Sought

Expected Role of a Partner
- The partner should provide financial support for the completion of the product under development within a period of time not exceeding 12 months.
- The Spanish company has the experience and capacity to carry out the technical development of the product as well as its production and formulation at an industrial scale. The partner is expected to be able to address the registration and commercialization of the product in the markets of its influence.
- The partner must have the ability to penetrate the market and have a distribution network that guarantees long-term sales of the product.
Type and Size of Partner
SME 11-49
Type of partnership
Commercial agreement with technical assistanceResearch and development cooperation agreement

Call details

Coordinator required


Technology keywords
07001003 - Biocontrol
Market keywords
09005 - Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Animal Husbandry & Related Products04001001 - Agricultural genetic engineering applications05009004 - Plant health
Sector Groups Involved
Targeted countries
All countries