Bayer set to acquire biocontrol company

by Eric Schroeder
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MONHEIM, GERMANY — Bayer CropScience has signed an agreement to acquire Prophyta GmbH, a supplier of microbial crop protection products headquartered in Malchow on the island of Poel in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. The acquisition will include Prophyta’s R.&D. laboratories and its production and formulation facilities in Wismar, Germany.

“This acquisition not only further strengthens our successful fruits and vegetables business,” said Rüdiger Scheitza, member of the board of management of Bayer CropScience AG and head of strategy and business management. “Prophyta’s patented solid-state fermentation technology and strong expertise in the formulation of live fungal spores will also help us bringing new, innovative solutions to market.”

Bayer said the addition of Prophyta will expand its existing biological pest control portfolio and allow the company to further leverage its technology platform acquired through Athenix Corp. and AgraQuest. Bayer acquired AgraQuest in the summer of 2012 for approximately €340 million plus milestone payments. Headquartered in Davis, Calif., AgraQuest is a supplier of biological pest management solutions based on natural microorganisms. Earlier in 2012, Bayer acquired the watermelon and melon seed business of Abbott & Cobb, Inc., Feasterville, Pa.

“We are proud to become part of Bayer CropScience,” said Peter Lüth, managing director for Prophyta. “Our comprehensive production and formulation capacities will help Bayer CropScience to supply its worldwide customers with large quantities of biologics based on natural fungal micro-organisms.”

Founded in 1992, Prophyta offers products primarily based on biological control agents that are registered in more than 30 countries worldwide. Key brands include Contans for control of Sclerotinia and the nematicide BioAct. Prophyta also has developed a solid-state fermentation technology for production and bioprocess development of filamentous fungi. Through the use of this technology, large quantities of fungal biomass as well as fungal spores may be produced under axenic conditions.

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