Mount Allison University to collaborate with Soricimed Biopharma Inc. on novel biopesticide solution
Sackville, NB / Moncton, NB, – Mount Allison University’s Dr. Vett Lloyd of the Biology Department and head of the Lloyd Tick Lab, and Soricimed Biopharma Inc. (Soricimed) are collaborating to design a species-specific, microbial biopesticide for agriculture and aquaculture applications. This project started in September 2021 and is looking at the potential of BioSoricide, an application derived from Soricimed’s proprietary development assets.
In preliminary studies, BioSoricide has shown the potential to immobilize agriculture and aquaculture pests. This novel approach to pest control would provide an alternative to synthetic chemicals currently used against insects on farms and to protect salmon farms from sea lice.
“There are many downsides with current chemical pest control treatments of food crops and fish farms. With many of these insects rapidly becoming resistant to chemical solutions, the pesticides now being deployed are quite powerful, which is increasingly problematic to ecology and humans,” said Dr. Vett Lloyd, Professor in the Department of Biology at Mount Allison University. “This development project with Soricimed is looking to find a much-needed new, safer approach that would control pest populations on land and in the sea, and greatly assist these economic sectors while reducing the environmental impact of traditional pesticides.”
BioSoricide builds on the acceptance of this mode of pest control by augmenting the activity of the naturally occurring viral pesticides. The project is designed as a proof-of-concept and, as such, is adaptable to licensee requirements with respect to the target pest, whether in agriculture or aquaculture.
“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Mount Allison University again and using our proprietary platform technology to advance the development of an alternative to traditional pesticides,” said Robert Bruce, CEO of Soricimed Biopharma Inc. “We take pride in our company helping to solve problems faced by these vital food sectors. It’s truly amazing how our patented technology is being used across broader sectors and we expect to see more applications in the future.”
Third-party funding for this development project has been provided through the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s (NBIF) Innovation Voucher Fund (NBIF).
“Our Innovation Voucher Fund (IVF) is uniquely suited to help provide companies like Soricimed Biopharma, with the resources needed to test new ideas and opportunities for existing IP. Considering insect pests in agriculture are becoming a more pressing problem because the traditional paradigm of chemical poisoning of pests is losing its power, this IVF was a no-brainer for us,” says Daniel Hoyles, Investment Associate with NBIF. “A new platform technology that will enable the design of species-specific, microbial biopesticide design for agriculture and aquaculture pests will significantly impact our New Brunswick farming community.”
[Photo caption: Dr. Anne Berthold, Research Associate at Mount Allison University, is contributing to the research aimed at improving pest control in agriculture and aquaculture]