Merger to bring the next generation of insect control to the global marketplace
Eco-friendly pheromone insect controls become feasible
Credit: Photo by Kurt Miller Photography.
Riverside, Calif. — ISCA Global, Inc. has been formed through the merger of ISCA Technologies, Inc. (U.S.), ISCA Tecnologias, Ltda. (Brazil) and ATGC Biotech (India) to capitalize on 25 years of deep research and development of environmentally safe insect control products that will play a critical role in making global agriculture sustainable.
ISCA products work by using pheromones and other naturally occurring compounds called semiochemicals that manipulate the behavior of targeted insect species before they become pests. These products prevent problem insects from mating, repel them from crops, or attract them to minuscule amounts of killing agents while leaving honeybees and other wildlife unharmed. ISCA Global also is developing products to control mosquitoes and ticks that spread disease.
“This new, extraordinary partnership allows us to bring the next generation of insect control to market on a global scale,” said Dr. Agenor Mafra-Neto, CEO of ISCA Global and an acclaimed entomologist and chemical ecologist. “Consumers want cleaner food and governments all over the world are mandating reductions in the use of conventional pesticides. Our products meet this need. They control devastating pests but avoid pest resistance and have minimal impact on the environment by minimizing the contamination of soil and water.”
Based in Riverside, Calif., ISCA Technologies has spent over 20 years developing, testing and marketing formulations and application methods so that farmers of row crops (e.g. corn, soy, cotton) and specialty crops (e.g. fruits) are able to reduce or eliminate the need for repeated insecticide applications. Innovative formulations and application methods have resulted in products suitable for rainy and desert climates. From hand application on some of the smallest farms in the world (India) to aircraft application on some of the largest farms in the world (Brazil), ISCA products are providing crop protection in 30 countries across all geographies and climates. The versatility of formulations coupled with efforts to reduce manufacturing costs have made these new generation insect control products ready for mass adoption.
Over the last 10 years, ATGC (ISCA Systems, Pvt, Ltda.) has capitalized on the brainpower of leading Indian scientists with decades of experience in agricultural and pharmaceutical chemistry. The company has led the scale-up of complex pheromone production and other semiochemical syntheses with breakthrough innovations in chemistry and forging key manufacturing partnerships. This has driven the cost of pheromone-based pest control solutions down even further and made them cost-competitive with conventional pesticides. These green solutions, previously cost-prohibitive, are now accessible to all farmers. A state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and Center of Excellence has recently been completed in Hyderabad.
“Our synthetic processes and economies of scale will not only drastically reduce pheromone cost to the level needed for pest management in corn, soybean, cotton and many more crops, but will also give ISCA Global and partners the reliable and dedicated semiochemical supply chain needed to meet grower demands,” said Dr. Markandeya Gorantla, Chief Technical Officer of ISCA Global Inc.
ISCA Brazil has been a hub of critical manufacturing, field testing and market development. Through a partnership with a major agricultural supply player, ISCA Brazil sold its first product for row crops for distribution on large Brazilian farms. It was through that partnership that Dr. Mafra-Neto met Jean-Pierre Princen who joined the ISCA team over three years ago. In addition to providing critical support to global sales, Mr. Princen will be Chairman of the ISCA Global Board playing a key advisory role. Mr. Princen brings more than three decades of experience with major agriculture technology companies as a global CEO & Strategist and has a deep understanding of current crop protection practices and technologies. He brings invaluable global business experience and expertise to the company.
“The breadth of field-demonstrated semiochemical based solutions combined with extremely cost competitive capabilities put ISCA at the forefront of the next generation of insect control globally,” Princen said. “I believe semiochemical-based solutions, proven efficient for decades in high value specialty crops, will now be affordable as part of any Integrated Insect Management program (IPM) for all types of crops and agricultural practices, both conventional and organic.”
ISCA Global is also joining hands with NATCO Pharma, based in India, as a strong partner in the manufacturing of niche chemistries. This strategic partnership will allow ISCA Global to capitalize on all the capabilities of the three consolidated entities along each step of the value chain. With its skills in complex chemistries and proven record of bringing products at affordable prices across geographies in the pharmacy sector, NATCO has recently forayed into the Crop Health Sciences sector to leverage its existing technical, manufacturing and marketing expertise. NATCO’s strategic partnership with ISCA Global allows for capital improvements, among other needs. This partnership creates synergies across the value chain, guaranteeing dedicated supply chains at the lowest costs.
“NATCO has always pursued a mission to provide affordable medicines to people at large. I am excited to partner with ISCA Global in their endeavor to bring a similar philosophy of affordable, efficient, and sustainable semiochemical solutions to growers everywhere” said Mr. Rajeev Nannapaneni, Vice-Chairman & CEO of NATCO Pharma Limited.
ISCA Global leadership:
Agenor Mafra-Neto, PhD, will serve as Chief Executive Officer. Formerly at the University of California, Riverside as a researcher in chemical ecology and entomology, Dr. Mafra-Neto founded ISCA Technologies Inc. in 1996. He has since been the principal investigator on more than 70 grant projects funded by US federal agencies and other groups. A tireless entrepreneur, Mafra-Neto has traveled the world repeatedly to establish markets for his innovations.
Jean-Pierre Princen will serve as Chairman of the Board and lead efforts in Business Development. Mr. Princen brings decades of executive experience gained with the world’s largest agricultural technology corporations before he devoted his career to scaling up sustainable biotechnologies for agriculture. Princen is an experienced global CEO and strategist with particular expertise in the US and European markets.
Markandeya Gorantla, PhD, will serve as Chief Technical Officer. Dr. Gorantla is the Chairman and Managing Director of ATGC a pheromone and semiochemical manufacturing company that was established as ATGC Biotech Pvt Ltd. in Genome Valley Hyderabad. ATGC will supply the pheromones and other active ingredients for ISCA formulations and market ISCA products in Central Asia. Gorantla also has years of research experience in the fields of plant molecular biology, drug discovery, and chemical engineering.
Leandro Mafra is the fourth founder. For 20 years, he has managed ISCA Tecnologias, based in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, which manufactures and markets semiochemical pest controls in Latin America. Mr. Mafra brings to ISCA Global the experience of manufacturing and distributing one of the world’s first semiochemical products to protect row crops (corn, soybean, and cotton) from the fall armyworm, the corn earworm, and several other devastating moth species. Mafra also developed a strategic relationship with the largest soybean farm in the world in Mato Gross, Brazil.
Kim Li Spencer, M.D. is the fifth founder. Trained as a physician, Dr. Spencer has served as vice president of ISCA Technologies and guided the Company through a decade of rapid growth, overseeing staff recruitment, personnel, workflow processes, and regulatory affairs. At ISCA Global, Dr. Spencer will continue to foster a talented and dedicated workforce that celebrates diversity, teamwork, and innovation.
ISCA Global Strategic Partners:
NATCO Pharma Ltd is based in Hyderabad, India, and has eight pharmaceutical development manufacturing facilities across India and two manufacturing facilities under development for Crop Health Sciences division that employ more than 5,000 people. NATCO has been recognized for its ability to manufacture niche pharma products, with emphasis on quality providing accessibility to the general population. NATCO consistently ranks amongst the fastest growing and most respected pharmaceutical companies in India.
ISCA Global has environmentally friendly solutions for many of the world’s most damaging insect pests, including the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana), the tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta), the corn earworm, (Helicoverpa zea), the cotton boll moth (Helicoverpa armigera), Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosa), the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar), the pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella), Carob moth (Ectomyelois ceratoniae), Tephritidae fruit flies and many others.
Keywords: pest control, pheromones, semiochemicals, insects, vectors, malaria, crops, agriculture, fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, integrated pest management, IPM, corn, cotton, soybean