Leading Irish R&D company commits to UK agriculture despite Brexit uncertainty

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Despite uncertainty in how UK agriculture will fare in the lead up to and post-Brexit, leading Irish R&D crop protection company Life Scientific has further underlined its commitment to the UK grower by extending its offer of novel off-patent products that will be available from this autumn.

Based in Dublin, the premium off-patent crop protection company focusses on bringing the newest off patent products to market much faster than has ever been previously possible, and has established sales of around  €30 million based on product approvals and sales in France, Spain and Germany.

Life Scientific CEO Nicola Mitchell is confident that despite concerns over Brexit, the UK arable industry is open to opportunities for innovation and growth.

“We are facing a world where the growing population needs feeding alongside a decrease in the availability of good arable land and favourable growing conditions; we simply need to be producing more efficiently from what we have. “

“Alongside this, the agchem market is facing increasingly onerous legislative requirements which are depressing an already stagnant discovery pipeline. However, opportunities have developed through the off-patent market, and today as much as 75% of the market is accounted for by products on which the original active ingredient (AI) patent has expired.”

Seeing this opportunity, Mitchell, who set up Life Scientific in 1995 as a contract R& D firm, changed the company direction in 2009 and established its own product development capability.

She firmly believes that the R&D-driven company’s innovative approach based on first generation off-patent science will bring a wider range of valuable off-patent agrochemicals to market more efficiently and faster than ever before. Life Scientific’s approach is based on a very strong scientific concept around the ability to reverse engineer a product from the original to produce a product accepted as identical by the regulatory authority.

“So we can offer off patent products to agronomists and growers at least three-four years earlier than any other off patent company – which is significant, and makes us unique. “

Since its first product launch in the UK back in 2011, the company now has a portfolio of 17 products registered for the UK market, backed up by a strong development pipeline, which also includes new combination products.

“We will be working closely with established distribution networks to develop this business, and we have agreements in place with Hutchinsons and ProCam, says Mitchell. “ This ensures that our product development pipeline is driven by our distributors’ feedback from farmers and growers on the problems they face and the solutions they need most.

“In this way, we work together with our distributors towards the best possible outcomes for all, and we are very excited about offering our wide portfolio of crop protection solutions to the UK’s growers and agronomists.”

Mitchell points out that where historically generic products may have been considered to be a poorer formulation than the original, this is not the case with Life Scientific products as these are accepted as being identical to the original by the regulatory authorities, so the performance will be the same.

“It’s important to note that all of our products have full generic registration, there are no parallel imports.”

Life Scientific UK plans are already taking place; a UK portfolio manager, Richard Brereton, was appointed this Spring and Mrs Mitchell confirms that there will be further announcements throughout the year.

“All of which will help us to develop the significant opportunity for future growth for Life Scientific in the UK market.”

TABLE: List of UK approvals (Sept 2017
Active Ingredient                Product                      Use
Azoxystrobin                       Azoxystar                  Spring
Clodinafop:Cloquintocet   Kipota                        Spring
DFF: Flufenacet                   Diflufenastar            Autumn
DFF: Flufenacet                   Diflufenastar 100    Autumn
Florasulam                          Sumir                         Spring
Lambda cyhalothrin          Lambdastar              Spring/Autumn
Mesotrione                         Mesostar                   Spring
Metconazole                       Ambarac                   Spring/Autumn
Prosulfocarb                       Fade                           Spring/Autumn
Trinexapac EC                    Sudo                           Spring

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