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US: Novel IRAC mode of action for bioinsecticide

The Insect Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) has approved a novel “nerve and muscular” mode-of-action code for Vestaron's SPEAR bioinsecticide.

“As of today, there are only thirteen nerve and muscular modes of action in all of insecticidal chemistry, so, particularly as a small company, we are pleased and honored to be bringing the fourteenth to market,” said Bob Kennedy, PhD, Vestaron’s Chief Science Officer. “This novel code confirms that SPEAR targets the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and does so in a different way from any existing class of insecticides.”

Vestaron is developing the SPEAR peptide into a family of insecticidal products. The first was SPEAR -T, which was launched in July of 2018, and targets all four major greenhouse pests – thrips, whiteflies, aphids and mites. The second, SPEAR-Lep, targets lepidopteran pests for fruits, vegetables, nuts and other high-value field crops. SPEAR-Lep received EPA approval in September of 2018 and has now been approved in more than twenty states. Additional field products targeting other classes of insect will follow.

“SPEAR is a safe and environmentally friendly peptide with the same efficacy as leading synthetics,” said Ben Cicora, Vestaron’s new SVP of Sales and Marketing. “We are excited to offer this innovative solution to growers seeking safe and sustainable solutions and/or alternatives to existing insect-target chemistries. SPEAR is an important new tool in integrated pest management.”

“We consider this a significant validation of our scientific approach” said Anna Rath, Vestaron’s new Chief Executive Officer. “The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor is one of the most important in all of insecticidal chemistry – accounting for nearly 30% of the total insecticide market. We believe that our proprietary platform and approach will generate peptide-based bioinsecticides that will provide novel modes of action against most of the known major insecticide targets, and our peptides are safe for the environment and for beneficial insects.”

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