Botry-Zen unveils major developments – AGM
Tuesday, July 25 (embargoed until 3pm)
Botry-Zen unveils major developments – AGM announcement
Biotechnology company Botry-Zen is poised to unveil three major developments, Chief Executive John Scandrett told the annual meeting in Dunedin today.
Scandrett said Botry-Zen plans the first full commercial release of its lead product, BOTRY-Zen on to the New Zealand market this coming growing season and that this will be immediately followed, as soon as registration permits, with the release of a new late season biological, ARMOUR-Zen. By May 2007 (a year ahead of schedule) it is intended to commercially release BOTRY-Zen in the German and Austrian markets.
"In addition to the completion of the upgrade of our Dunedin factory, new large-scale manufacturing will soon be formalised with a European company, Prophyta Biologischer Pflanzenschutz GmbH. The timing of the formalisation of the new arrangements is expected to dovetail nicely with securing the 2007 German/Austrian market registration," he said.
The plan to launch ARMOUR-Zen on to the New Zealand market is significant for the company as it means that it will be able to offer a companion product for BOTRY-Zen in the fight against Botrytis and Sclerotinia.
“Not only are we excited about how ARMOUR-Zen will complement BOTRY-Zen, but how both products can be used in other crop applications beyond grapes.
“The successful trial work has exceeded expectations in disease containment not only across the two serious grape infection threats of Botrytis and Sclerotinia, but also across other crops. We are very happy with results on kiwifruit, blackcurrants and ornamental flowers,” he said.
The potential for the company in Europe is enormous.
“The ramifications of securing an additional manufacturing base with significant capacity, especially in Europe, should not be underestimated.”
Under the new arrangement with the European company Botry-Zen Limited will retain full ownership of all proprietary technologies and know-how and will also control all marketing and distribution functions. Final stage negotiations with marketing partners in Germany and Austria are in train and are expected to be concluded by September,” he said.
“When you compare the 20,000 hectares that are under grapes in New Zealand with Europe and the United States, then you appreciate the potential.
“In Germany and Austria alone there are approximately 200,000 hectares. For the rest of Europe that leaps to 3.3 million hectares with another 400,000 hectares in the United States. Hopefully, we will be able to market BOTRY-Zen in all of these markets by the 2008 season.
“And this is just the grape market. Trial results are very encouraging for kiwifruit,” he said.
Scandrett said that it is difficult to take any biotechnological idea through initial appraisal, laboratory assessment, field proof-of-performance and commercial up-grade steps and while further challenges lie ahead the company remains confident that it is now through the hardest parts of the process.
“The success of our field trials plus the fact we are proceeding to full commercial release has led us to modify both our corporate logo and position statement to ‘Proven Natural Science.’
“The journey has begun and we are very confident of the future,” he told the AGM.
Financial highlights for year ending March 31, 2006
A trading deficit (after depreciation) of $1,579,020 was recorded. On a comparative basis (before recognition of the gains made on the sale of the Dunedin factory) the previous year’s trading deficit was $1,223,588.
Operation expense overheads were held at favourable levels, this assisting in off-setting some revenue short-fall where budgeted sales did not, due to production constraints, meet target.
With significant forward steps being taken, in the latter part of the year, on the plant up-scaling process, development expenses were ahead of budget. This was to be expected given the forward momentum generated around the timing of the favourable Rights issue.
Background on Botry-Zen Limited
Botry-Zen Limited was formed in April 2001 to research, develop and commercialise biological control agents for use in the agriculture and horticulture industry. The company is publicly listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange’s Main Board.
The first biological control agent to be released commercially by Botry-Zen Limited is a new product called BOTRY-Zen, which was specifically developed for the effective control of Botrytis cinerea fungal infection in grapes ("bunch rot" or "grey mould").
Botry-Zen Limited (the company) owns an exclusive licence to technology giving the company the ability to produce, distribute and sell BOTRY-Zen (the product).
The technology was developed through the co-operative efforts of the Horticulture Food Research Institute of New Zealand Limited (HortResearch), Winegrape Tech (a joint venture between Winegrowers of New Zealand Limited and New Zealand Grape Growers Limited) and Zenith Technology Corporation Limited (Zentech) and is the subject of an international patent application.
The company's head office and manufacturing plant are located in Dunedin, New Zealand.