A Canadian crop protection company, whose patented technology has its roots in research from the University of Toronto, has received its first Canadian product registration.
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Vive Crop Protection Inc.’s AZteroid FC 3.3 fungicide is labelled for in-furrow use on potatoes against black scurf, silver scurf, and rhizoctonia disease, and is available through UAP Canada.
The product features Vive’s proprietary Allosperse Delivery Technology, which uses nanotechnology to improve the effectiveness of active ingredients by creating new application methods for existing biological and conventional crop protection products.
Why it matters: Improving the performance of existing products gives farmers new ways to control pests, weeds and diseases, which is important in the face of growing resistance pressure and lengthy approval processes for new chemistries in Canada.
“Our first approval is for a fungicide in potatoes used primarily at planting. We’ve had a lot of success with that in potatoes in the United States and we are excited to bring it to Canada,” says Vive CEO and co-founder Darren Anderson.
“We hope to expand the label, subject to regulatory approval, to anywhere that fungicide can be used, including broad acre row crops.”
Vive’s technology uses a microscopic web of polymer material to transport the active ingredient where needed and protect it until it is activated. This nano-shuttle mixes well with liquid fertilizer. According to UAP, AZteroid FC 3.3 is the first fungicide to be fully compatible with liquid fertilizers. This means growers can apply fertilizer and fungicide in a single pass, reducing labour and fuel costs.
“We don’t do discovery of new microbes or actives; we take existing products and make them better, which lets us develop products more quickly than anyone else can and get tools into grower hands faster,” Anderson says.
Over the last several years, Vive has expanded its delivery technology to also enhance the performance and reliability of biologicals, enabling combinations of both synthetic and biological controls like microbials and plant and microbial extracts.
“By marrying a biological with a synthetic, you combine the best of both worlds with additional modes of action and plant health effects from the biological,” Anderson explains. “These combination tools should be more exciting to growers than solo biologicals.”
Vive, founded in 2006, introduced its first product into the United States in 2016, opting to first pursue registration south of the border due to the size of the U.S. market and the known complexities of successfully obtaining registrations in Canada.
“The Canadian process tends to take longer, but we have a unique technology to help active ingredients be more effective and do more, so this means regulators have to assess whether it has any impact on risk,” Anderson says, adding Vive supports that approach and is pleased the Pest Management Regulatory Agency has given initial product approval.
Vive has seven products on the market in the United States and is working on regulatory approvals to bring more of those to Canada, including insecticides and nematicides. By 2025, Anderson hopes to launch five new products a year, increasing that to 10 branded and licensed products annually by 2027.
It’s part of a longer-term vision that includes building products uniquely suited to the Canadian market and crops grown here, and the company has been ramping up its infrastructure in preparation.
Just under half of its 13,000 square foot facility in Mississauga is dedicated to lab space, with an expansion planned for the next six months, and its staff team has grown from just under 30 in 2019 to 65 today.
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“We’re a proudly Canadian company,” Anderson says.
Last year, Vive closed a US$26 million series C funding round led by Saskatchewan-based agtech fund Emmertech and had previously received funding from various sources, including the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization, Bioenterprise Canada, and Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
In 2018, Vive was selected as one of Canada’s 10 most promising tech firms by the Lazaridis Institute and was named company of the year by Life Sciences Ontario in 2021.