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Plant Health Care Plc

Plant Health Care Update on the product pipeline in its New Technology business

Plant Health Care (LONPHC), a leading provider of novel patent-protected biological products to global agriculture markets, today provided the following update on the product pipeline in its New Technology business, following the recent completion of a strategic review of the prospects for PREtec (the Company’s novel Plant Response Elicitor Technology platform):

Highlights:

– Plant Health Care is moving lead PREtec peptides forward into fast-track product development, with anticipated entry into first markets as early as 2021.

– These products will be addressing markets worth in excess of $5 billion.

– The Company continues to engage with evaluation partners; seven companies have ongoing evaluations of PREtec or are planning to initiate field evaluations in 2019.

– The Company intends to sell some products directly to distributors, to reach market more rapidly and deliver higher margins for the Company. Discussions have been initiated with potential partners in the US and Brazil.

– Progress with production methods has advanced, providing further evidence that PREtec cost of goods should provide a competitive advantage over 3rd party products; margins are expected to be comparable to those of Harpin αβ.

– First regulatory approval is expected in the US before the end of 2020 and in Brazil in 2021/22.

PREtec (the Company’s novel Plant Response Elicitor Technology platform) is a novel, environmentally friendly approach to protecting crops, based on peptides derived from natural proteins. These proprietary peptides are stable and compatible with mainstream agriculture practices. By activating the innate growth and defence mechanisms of plants, PREtec peptides lead to higher crop yields and better protection against disease and environmental stresses such as drought. The Company has established substantial intellectual property around PREtec, with more than 40 patent applications filed.

Plant Health Care has recently completed a strategic review of the first product pipeline emerging from PREtec and of the routes to market for those products. The target markets include corn and soy (yield increase through seed treatment), control of Asian Soybean Rust (ASR) and other diseases, sugarcane (yield and disease), enhanced plant nutrition, and nematode control in fruit and vegetable crops; most of the larger target markets are in North and South America. These markets are very large in terms of both disease control and yield enhancement. As shown in the chart below, the Company’s products will be addressing markets worth in excess of $5 billion.

Crop: Indication

Country: Available hectares

Market Size: Value, $

Corn & soy seed treatment: Yield increase

US: 33M ha corn, 36M ha soy

>90% of US corn and 80% of US soy receive seed treatments. The U.S. seed treatment market was worth approx. $1.84 billion in 2016 and is expected to exceed $3.04 billion by 2022.

Vegetables: nematode control

US: 1.1M ha

US crop losses due to nematodes is est. $8 billion annually. Estimated yield loss due to nematodes has historically been between 10-20% in economically important vegetable crops.

Soybean: Disease Control (ASR)

Brazil: 36M ha

In 2017, $1.75B was spent in Brazil on soybean fungicides and the global fungicide market was worth an estimated $15 billion.

Sugarcane: yield increase and disease control

Brazil: 9.9M ha

>628MT harvested sugarcane forecast for 2019, and Brazil expects to export 23.6MT of sugar. The 2017 export crop was worth over $11.4 billion.

Row crops: enhanced plant nutrition

US: varies by crop and geography

US market size was estimated >$950 million in 2014 with projected annual growth of 8.5% to 2023.

 

For each of these target markets, we have identified a lead peptide and a back-up. The lead peptides for these target markets include PHC279, which is the subject of our first regulatory filings, and other peptides selected from the Innatus 3G, Y-Max 3G and T-Rex 3G platforms.

Strong progress has been made in developing efficient production methods for PREtec peptides. During 2018, the target production efficiency for PHC279 was comfortably achieved. Work on production methodology for other peptides is also promising. This gives the Company confidence that PREtec peptides will be cost-effective in the field and provide a competitive advantage. Preliminary estimates suggest margins could be comparable to those which the Company currently enjoys with Harpin αβ (in excess of 65%).

As previously announced, the Company has made submissions for product regulatory approval in the US which is anticipated to result in first registration during 2020. Registration in Brazil will follow.

Work continues with evaluation partners to develop both technical profiles and routes to commercialisation. The Company expects to access the market through Technology Licences for several products. However, following the review of its commercialisation strategy and recognising the growing strength of the Company’s commercial relationship with distributors, some of the products are now expected to be commercialised directly with in-country distribution partners. This sales route will take products to market more rapidly and is anticipated to result in higher margins being retained by the Company.

Chris Richards, Plant Healthcare Executive Chairman & Interim CEO, said: “We are excited about the potential for the product pipeline now coming out of our PREtec technology. These products are targeting very large markets, which have the potential to generate substantial revenues for the Company, which are additive to our existing Harpin αβ sales. Further products will follow from the PREtec platform. With product launches feasible as early as 2021, we are moving to complement Technology Licensing with direct sales for some products to enable us to launch products significantly more quickly. We will update the market periodically on product development, as we progress towards launching our first products from the PREtec platform.”

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