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Bio-pesticide startup catches EPA approval

February 7, 2014
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Bio-pesticide startup catches EPA approval
Kalamazoo-based Vestaron Corporation develops bio-pesticides for the agriculture industry. Photo via vestaron.com

A venture-backed startup’s bio-insecticide is now approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Spider-born toxin

Kalamazoo-based Vestaron Corporation said the bio-insecticide is environmentally safe and derived from a natural chemical compound, known as a peptide, found in spiders.

The EPA-approved bio-insecticide produced by the company is a spray-on product and designed to target caterpillars and beetles in crops, such as high-value vegetables.

With the EPA approval on Feb. 3, Vestaron will begin the commercial product launch of their first bio-insecticide in 2015.

“This is a game changer for agriculture,” said Vestaron CEO Dr. John Sorenson. “Our bio-insecticide is safe for humans, safe for non-target animals and plants and better for the environment.”

This technology is protected by patent and an “extensive intellectual property estate,” according to the Vestaron website.

Vestaron, founded in 2005, focuses on the production of naturally occurring and environmentally safe insecticides for farmers, commercial applicators and homeowners.

Found in nature

One of the concerns with insecticides on the market now is insect resistance to them. By focusing on spider toxins, Vestaron hopes to target insects in a way that’s not addressed by the marketplace.

“This bio-pesticide is one of a vast number of similar compounds that exist in nature, from which we intend to source many new, unique insect-control products,” Sorenson said.

Sorenson added that Vestaron is incorporating the gene for this peptide into a “new generation of insect-resistant plants.”

$3.2B market

The bio-pesticide global market is anticipated to be valued at $3.2 billion by 2017, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets, a global marketing research and consulting firm. The figure is more than double the market’s worth of $1.3 billion in 2011. 

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