Research Update

Released : 18 Jan 2017 07:02

RNS Number : 4128U
Plant Health Care PLC
18 January 2017
 

PLANT HEALTH CARE PLC
 ("Plant Health Care", "PHC" or the "Company")

 

Plant Health Care® (AIM: PHC), a leading provider of novel patent-protected biological products to global agriculture markets, is pleased to provide the following update in relation to its New Technology business.

 

Highlights

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Field trials with Innatus 3G in 2016 continued to show good results, both in Plant Health Care's own trials and those run by partners.  All four evaluation partners have now extended the terms of their contracts into 2018.  We are on track for the first competitive licensing process to conclude in early 2018.

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Two new PREtec peptide platforms: T-Rex 3G and Y-Max 3G have been presented to industry players. First agreements have been signed and more are expected over the coming months. Field trials have begun and we are targeting a revenue-generating licence before the end of 2017.

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Plant Health Care continues to make strong progress in building its capability to make, to formulate and to register PREtec peptides.  This will accelerate first sales, following the agreement of licences with partners.

 

Innatus 3G

In 2016 Plant Health Care completed its fourth year of Innatus 3G field trials. Performance was in line with previous years.  Results confirm the value of peptides from Innatus 3G for three critical agricultural uses - yield promotion, disease protection and drought resistance - all of which are very important commercial targets.

Peptides from the Innatus 3G platform were added to standard industry mixtures of agrochemicals and biologicals, and applied to seeds in the conventional way.  Even in a year with close to ideal growing conditions, Innatus 3G provided substantial increases in harvest yield.  This all supports our view that Innatus 3G will add significant value on top of conventional seed treatment applications.

PHC has four evaluation partners for Innatus 3G.  Some of them conducted field trials on a larger scale than Plant Health Care has ever done.  The larger the scale of their field trials, the more enthusiastic the partners were about their results.  All four partners have extended the terms of their evaluation agreements into 2018.

Greenhouse studies commissioned by PHC during 2016 showed Innatus 3G peptides providing impressive resistance against certain fungal diseases.  For example, young corn plants grown from treated seed that had been planted into soil infected with the Fusarium fungus displayed fewer symptoms of stem and root. This level of control matched or even exceeded control achieved by standard fungicide seed treatments.  These results have been confirmed on a larger scale in partner trials, to statistically significant levels.  This confirmed that Innatus 3G can protect crop yield against the pressure of various diseases under field conditions.

A field trial run by PHC in California gave strong indications that certain Innatus 3G peptides can substantially protect corn yield from the effects of drought. This confirmed the predictions of many small-scale tests run in Seattle.

 

T-Rex 3G and Y-Max 3G

Two new PREtec peptide platforms were presented to selected industry partners in 2016, supported by data from greenhouse and laboratory tests and limited field trials. Our target had been to present one platform but additional studies and encouragement from our partners persuaded us to move forward with two, so we are now ahead of plan.

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T-Rex 3G is a platform that has been optimised for nematode suppression, which is a substantial market opportunity, with relatively few good commercial products today.  Peptides from T-Rex 3G have been shown to give results comparable with or in some cases markedly superior to control achieved by chemical and biological commercial standards.  Trials during 2016 showed peptides from T-Rex 3G protecting plants and suppressing the soil-borne populations of pest nematodes.

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Y-Max 3G behaves more like a classic biostimulant but has its own mode of action.  When applied to corn and soy as a seed treatment it increases biomass and yield.  2016 trials in corn showed that root structures were developed early and nutrient uptake was improved.  Field trials have confirmed that seed treatment with Y-Max 3G leads to increased corn yields.  Biostimulants as a class have particular advantages in terms of the cost and speed of commercial registration.

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Responses to T-Rex 3G and Y-Max 3G have been very positive. The first agreements (with both new and existing partners) have already been signed, to explore these new platforms and field trials have begun. More evaluation agreements are expected to be signed over the coming months.  PHC is aiming to secure its first revenue generating licence of one of these technologies in 2017.

 

PHC's product development capability

As industry partners gain more confidence in the field performance of the technology, they are starting to pay detailed attention to other parameters, including the physical stability of peptides in formulations, and their compatibility with proprietary chemistry.  Positive results in these areas are required before our partners take final development decisions.

With our expanded R&D facilities in Seattle operating well, PHC is well placed to support partners as they progress towards product development. We have run extensive compatibility and stability studies.  We have also carried out initial fermentation production trials, utilising our extensive experience of this approach to produce our existing products. Early indications are very promising and we can now move much faster to optimise peptides for best performance in our partners' end products and early market entry.

 

 

Enquiries:


Plant Health Care plc


Dr Chris Richards, Executive Chairman and Interim CEO

Tel: +44 (0) 18 3788 0083

Liberum Capital - Nomad and Broker


Clayton Bush / Chris Clarke

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3100 2000

Company website: www.planthealthcare.com


 


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
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