Despite SPEAR peptide targeting the same receptor class as does Spinosad – the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, insects with resistance to Spinosad do not have cross resistance to SPEAR.

“The alternate sites and greater surface areas involved in protein-protein binding make it unlikely that any of Vestaron’s peptides would have cross-resistance with existing small molecule insecticides,” said Bob Kennedy PhD, Vestaron’s Chief Science Offcer. “Nevertheless, this is a useful confirmation of this principle as it relates to Vestaron’s novel SPEAR bioinsecticide and the existing small molecule insecticide, Spinosad. SPEAR recently received a novel IRAC mode of action code, confirming that it targets nicotinic acetylcholine receptors 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.

“Spinosad has been and continues to be an important product for growers seeking safe and environmentally friendly approaches to insect control, so it has been unfortunate to see resistance start to develop. Importantly, growers now have in SPEAR-T an important greenhouse rotation partner for managing Spinosad-resistant thrips” said Ben Cicora, Vestaron’s new SVP of Sales and Marketing. “We are pleased to provide a novel solution that is equally safe and environmentally friendly and will reset the resistance clock for this insecticide target.”

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