Pestevene is driving innovation with a protein-based biopesticide that operates via a novel mechanism, to reduce dependency on synthetic pesticides and foster sustainable pest resistance management in agriculture.

Challenges in agricultural pest management

Agricultural pests pose a significant challenge to crop production worldwide, causing substantial economic setbacks, where up to 40% of crop production is lost to plant pests and diseases exceeding $220 billion. Factors like globalization and climate change, exacerbate the situation, fostering the spread and establishment of new pests. This not only imperils agricultural and forestry output but also undermines ecosystems, biodiversity, and the overall environment.

Pest resistance development complicates agriculture pest management, driven by excessive reliance on chemical pesticides. This resistance escalates the costs for farmers, in terms of both the increased use of pesticides and potential crop losses, but also raises environmental concerns due to increased pesticide usage.

One prominent pest is the Colorado potato beetle, known for its devastating impact on potato crops. This beetle is particularly challenging to manage due to its ability to develop resistance to various pesticides. Notably, the Colorado potato beetle has shown resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides, including imidacloprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, and thiamethoxam.

Active ingredients with a novel mode of action

Pestevene is developing protein-based biopesticides with a novel mode of action that involves pore formation through lipid targeting. This unique protein complexes offer:

  • Long-term protection of plants from pest damage, with promising efficacy and stability
  • Targeting larvae at early stages, protecting against disease onset
  • Safety for non-target organisms and the environment facilitates the transition to sustainable agricultural practices for farmers

At Pestevene, we leverage our expertise in pore-forming proteins (PFPs) to optimize their effectiveness as active ingredients, either through plant genetic transformation or formulation for foliar applications. Our PFP complexes offer protection against common pests that cause substantial economic damage to crops, including the Western Corn Rootworm and Colorado Potato Beetle.

In late 2024, we will be excited to demonstrate the efficacy of Pestevene’s defense complex on our first PlyA / PlyB transgenic corn plant. This development features a built-in defense against Coleopterans including the Western Corn Rootworm.

Advancing Pestevene

In January 2023, Pestevene completed the Commercialization Reactor Deep Tech Programme, securing €50k in launch financing. By June, the team completed the biotope by VIB basecamp and got selected for the VIB Pre-seed incubator program, securing a €250k investment from Biotope Ventures. In November 2023, the startup concluded the EIT Food Seedbed Incubator program, refining our biopesticide solutions. Additionally, Pestevene initiated proof-of-concept studies in Nevele, Belgium, validating our PlyA/PlyB-based lipid-targeting pesticides. The startup expanded its global reach through an R&D collaboration with a prominent Canada-based bioengineering company, exploring foliar applications of our biopesticides.

Products in the pipeline

  • The focus lies in the development of pore-forming proteins (PFPs) renowned for their unique mode of action, which involves binding to lipid targets in cell membranes, causing cell damage
  • The distinctive interaction with lipids anticipates long-term efficacy, a crucial attribute for any pesticide active ingredient

Read more

More Cases

Think you've got what it takes?

  • Take part in our program to rapidly advance your technology
  • Grow the confidence of you and your team
  • Turn your startup into an investment-ready business
Apply now