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New era of eco-friendly pesticides: Canada approves field trials for RNAi technology

Renaissance BioScience Corp., a leader in bioengineering for the global agriculture and food industries, is pleased to announce that the Government of Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has approved the company’s field study application for its sustainable and eco-friendly RNA interference (RNAi) biopesticide delivery technology.

Authorization from the PMRA, following a thorough review of the company’s extensive data dossier, indicates a mutual understanding of the composition, potential and low risk of the RNAi technology. It also provides the regulatory permission required to engage in in-depth field research throughout Canada this summer.

Renaissance’s plans for biopesticide testing in 2023 also include several smaller-scale field trials in a number of other countries. These trials are designed to perform real-world testing and further demonstrate the efficacy of the Renaissance yeast-based technology.

With these trials, the company’s scientific team and collaborators are seeking to determine the optimal use model for farmers. This involves investigating application rates and timing, insect mortality and overall crop protection, with a focus on maximizing the final tuber yield and quality as efficiently and at as low a cost as possible.

Targeting the Colorado potato beetle

This field work is an important step forward in the company’s biopesticide development pipeline, and the results will allow the team to further expand future field trials toward formal product registration. The technology’s initial priority crop pest target is the Colorado potato beetle (CPB). CPB causes significant agricultural losses for potato growers around the world and this crop pest is rapidly developing resistance to many traditional chemical pesticides, making new technologies desperately needed.

Independent benchtop laboratory testing on the RNAi technology conducted by third-party experts displayed a 98% mortality rate that delivered excellent protection for potato plant defoliation.

Maurice Boucher, Renaissance’s Executive Chair, commented: “The PMRA is Health Canada’s controlling body for pesticides, and it is gratifying to see their review of our dossier of research data and give approval for field studies and further research that will elaborate on the technology’s efficacy, capability and cost-effectiveness.

“This PMRA approval is further confirmation that the quality of Renaissance biopesticide data and its development team’s capabilities are able to meet the high standards of government regulatory agencies for data submission.”

Revolutionary technology

Mr. Boucher added, “This is a revolutionary technology, and our efforts are now focused on an extensive R&D program aimed at proving out its efficacy in terms of controlling not only the CPB but also many other destructive insects that create substantial crop damage. Feeding the world’s expanding population in an environmentally sustainable way is a vital undertaking.”

One of the PMRA’s mandates is to promote sustainable pest management. Renaissance’s yeast-based RNAi technology is an environmentally safe and sustainable biopesticide that has the potential to replace or reduce the use of traditional chemical pesticides that have been shown to cause substantial collateral damage to the environment, pollinators, and human and animal health.

The beauty of the RNAi mechanism of action is that it targets a specific essential gene (or genes) unique to the identified pest and turns off that gene, stopping the invader in its tracks. This mode of action reduces, and may even eliminate, the potential for Renaissance’s biopesticide technology to affect any other animal or plant, with the added benefit that it then harmlessly degrades in the environment.

Renaissance believes its RNAi-based crop protection technology holds the potential to make a significant contribution to innovation required to feed an increasing human and animal population in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

Joint development partners sought for accelerated product creation

To accelerate the development of this environmentally valuable technology Renaissance invites industrial partners—especially existing chemical-based pesticide manufacturers—to join Renaissance in the creation of multiple different pest-targeted biopesticides using the Renaissance strategic RNA technology patent portfolio.

Renaissance has developed an elegant commercial and intellectual property model that enables multiple companies to work separately and simultaneously with Renaissance, allowing each partner to advance a particular pest-targeted biopesticide for their exclusive use.

Mr. Boucher concluded: “Renaissance’s expertise and IP can be the innovation engine for chemical-based pesticide manufacturers to accelerate new crop-protection products that reduce environmental damage, have the potential to reduce pesticide resistance, and offer new crop protection tools.

“These new biopesticides will be acceptable to increasingly stringent government regulations worldwide, as well as the social demands that are limiting the use of traditional broad-spectrum chemical pesticides.”

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Source: Renaissance BioScience Corp.
Cover photo: Colorado potato beetle. Credit Zsofia Szendrei

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