Following the recent acquisition of Latitude, Certis wants to extend its strategy in Seed Treatment. It is also looking at opportunities for distribution as well as reinforcing its R&D capacity and access to market.
Certis has announced the acquisition of Latitude from Monsanto on February 1st 2017 - through its main Japanese shareholder, Mitsui & Co. This seed treatment fungicide, based on Silthiofam, is used mainly for wheat and barley, to control take-all disease. For western Europe, Certis Europe will market the product as of now, while its sister company, Spiess Urania, will market the product in Germany and Central Europe.
In western Europe, Latitude is an important product from a business stand point, and also a very well known brand for growers and seed companies. Main usage is in Germany, France and UK and it is also sold in seven other countries across Europe. Jacques Haverlant, European Seed treatment Portfolio Manager at Certis Europe indicates: “Take-all is a commonly occurring disease all around the world. We are evaluating opportunities in new territories, first where the product is registered but not sold, then also in North and South America. This is an expensive product, so it fits well with high yield potential agronomic systems where it can provide high return to growers. Certis is willing to invest and to develop the product. In parallel, we also envisage the development of new advanced formulations”.
Imazalil and Thiram also in development.
Certis has owned Imazalil for many years. This molecule is used mainly to protect Seed potatoes against storage diseases, but also as a cereal seed treatment fungicide. It is widely used on seed potatoes in Europe, but now is also expanding in new areas where production of potatoes is becoming more intensive, such as India for instance. Imazalil is also used to protect barley against leaf stripe, mainly in northern Europe. Certis has demonstrated that this is a good partner for molecules active against wheat Fusarium diseases, by boosting their efficacy against this important seedling disease.
Certis is also working on the renewal of the Annex III of Proseed, a seed treatment based on Thiram and used for vegetable seeds. The product is very versatile, applicable for many crops and controls numerous diseases. It is at present only registered in Holland and is intensively used by seed breeders and processors there. The company is taking advantage of the Annex III renewal to extend use to other EU countries.
Certis wants to attract interest through its Seed treatment culture and is looking for partners with ST technology or product that Certis can distribute in exclusivity. This is for instance the case with the recent agreement signed by Certis with Adama in France, for the exclusive distribution of its cereal fungicide seed treatment, Negev.
“Regulatory constraints are becoming more and more demanding, reminds Jacques Haverlant. We have developed skills and resources both in our regulatory teams and field teams to be able to fulfill all regulatory requirements as well as putting in place efficient stewardship and ensuring that our products are used efficiently while respecting all best practices.”
Innovation made in Japan
The shareholding of Certis is 100% Japanese: Nisso (20%) is an R&D company of specialty chemistry and agrochemicals – Kumiai (5.9%) is specialized in crop protection R&D, and is owned by Japanese cooperatives. Finally, Mitsui & Co (74.1%) is a Sogo Shosha, meaning an international trading and investment company. Mitsui has a strong focus on agriculture.
“In Japan, generics are not really allowed, so the market is of very high value, summarizes Jacques Haverlant. Their research model is much more diversified than in west Europe, and this certainly explains in part why 40% of new molecules in development at global level have a Japanese origin! To support our partners in evaluating their products in Europe, we work with Japan Agro Service (JAS), an R&D laboratory that is also a subsidiary of our shareholders, and that has capacity to evaluate molecules in European conditions. Moreover, we have set up a seed treatment formulation lab in JAS, because this know-how is limited in Japan while their novel products have real potential for this use.