Bio-Gene Technology (ASX:BGT) AgTech platform


by Ortenzia Borre

Bio-Gene Technology Limited (ASX:BGT) CEO, Richard Jagger discusses the company's novel suite of insecticides, progress with trials and market opportunity.

Ortenzia Borre: Hello, I'm Ortenzia Borre for the Finance News Network, and joining me is Bio-Gene technology (ASX:BGT) CEO Richard Jagger. Richard, welcome to FNN.

Richard Jagger: Thank you. It's a pleasure.

Ortenzia Borre: First up, can you give me an introduction to the company?

Richard Jagger: Yes. Bio-Gene (ASX:BGT) is an Australian-listed company that is dealing in agricultural technology, specifically in developing new insecticides based on natural compounds. And what's really interesting about these compounds is they have what we call a novel mode of action, which means they work very differently than every other chemistry on the market today, which means they can address the issues of resistance and other problems that we have with products that exist today.

Ortenzia Borre: Thanks, Richard. Can you tell us about the situation with insect resistance and pesticides and the size of the market?

Richard Jagger: Insecticide resistance is a big problem around the world, and it causes us problems with the food we produce, but also the way disease such as malaria and Zika virus are spread around the world. It's a big market. It's about a $32 billion US market per year, and it's growing because the products that we have are no longer as effective as they used to be.

Ortenzia Borre: Now to your products, can you talk me through Flavocide and Qcide?

Richard Jagger: Yes. Well, we have two products, two lead products, both based on some natural compounds. The first, Qcide is a fully natural product that is an oil extract out of a leaf of a eucalyptus, a rare cultivar that we grow up in far North Queensland.

Flavocide is what we call a nature identical molecule. It is found in nature, yet not in quantities where we could commercially harvest it. So what we've been able to do with the CSIRO here in Australia is develop a synthetic process to produce the product to be able to make that to scale.

Ortenzia Borre: Now to your finances and share price. Can you give us a bit of a briefing on your business strategy?

Richard Jagger: Our focus is to work with the large global chemical and agricultural companies around the world that already have a strong presence in the markets that we're interested in.

We want to be able to incorporate our technology into their portfolios to give ourselves and our products the best reach into the world. They have the infrastructure, they have the resources and the capacity to be able to get new products into the market. So our model is working very closely with them, and at this stage from sharing information and results of the data that we have to date, we have six companies around the world currently testing our technology for their own portfolio uses to determine where it best fits into their applications and their business models.

So that's going very well. And recently we're able to announce a kind of formal collaboration with one of those companies, known as BASF, which is the largest chemical company in the world for an application of stored grain pests, and that is once a crop is pulled off the farm, the grain is put into silos or bags until the farm either uses it or sells it in the marketplace.

There are a lot of very resistant pests and difficult pests to deal within that application. So this collaboration we have with BASF is to identify specific formulations that we could then move forward to take to market down the track. Interestingly enough, we're also working with the premier organisation in Australia for the grain industry called the Grains Research and Development Corporation. They work very hard at bringing new technology to the market, to the benefit of growers in Australia.

So with their help and with the help of the Queensland department of agriculture who will be doing the research and development, the four of us will collaborate in this program to bring it to market. So we're very excited about that.

Ortenzia Borre: Now to the final question, where would you like to see the company in 12 months’ time?

Richard Jagger: So certainly what we would like to see is more companies trialing our product around the world in different market opportunities, and more formal collaborations like the one we have with BASF. To be able to demonstrate that our path to commercialization is visible, and that we are moving towards getting products registered and out there in the world and solving some of the problems that the world's facing today.

Ortenzia Borre: Well, thank you so much for the update, Richard. We appreciate it and thank you for joining us at FNN.

Richard Jagger: Pleasure. Great to talk with you.