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SDS Biotech to Market New Biofungicide in Japan

Showa Denko K.K.
SDS Biotech K.K.
June 4, 2003

SDS Biotech K.K., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Showa Denko K.K. (SDK), has signed an agreement with AgraQuest, Inc. of the United States whereby SDS Biotech is given an exclusive right to market in Japan a new biofungicide that effectively controls gray mold and powdery mildew.

The two companies have jointly developed the new biofungicide by tailoring AgraQuest’s product to Japanese crops. The new biofungicide, to be marketed under the brand of Impression® wettable powder, was registered in Japan on May 7, 2003 as a new biological pesticide.

Formed in 1995, California-based AgraQuest provides effective, safe and environmentally friendly natural products for farm, home and public health pest management. The company is currently selling proprietary products, in which microbial natural products serve as active ingredients, to organic growers in the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Israel and New Zealand. Those products will also be sold in Europe, Canada, Argentina, South Africa and Australia. The company will launch other new products within several years.

SDS Biotech, active mainly in the areas of vegetable fungicides and rice herbicides, has been engaged in R&D of biopesticides that meet the needs of environmental conservation agriculture. Compared with the overall Japanese pesticide market of ¥335 billion, the scale of the biopesticide market in Japan is still small at approximately ¥2 billion, but it is expected to grow fast.

SDS Biotech has an approximately 20% share of the natural pesticide market in Japan. The company has already placed on the market Biosafe® and Biotopia® bioinsecticides to control white grubs, hunting billbug and caterpillars using entomopathogenic nematodes, their natural enemy. The company is also selling Tune-up® wettable granules containing Bt that are highly effective in controlling caterpillars. In the area of biofungicide, Impression® has been added to the company’s portfolio.

SDS Biotech will strengthen its cooperation with AgraQuest in jointly developing safe, environmentally friendly new products derived from nature.

SDS Biotech is planning to increase its annual sales of biopesticides to around ¥1 billion in five years’ time by strengthening its presence in overseas markets as well. The company will continue to play a key role in SDK Group’s agrochemical operations, offering both chemical and biological pesticides to the fast-growing Asian market.