Vestaron Adds Kira Bennet as PNW Sales Rep.

Vestaron welcomes aboard Kira Bennett as the new sales representative in the PNW!  Kira joins the team from Corteva after having worked to develop the PNW market for them over the past 12 years.  Her primary role will be working to develop Spear-Lep and Spear-T in Washington and Oregon and add new distribution partners to gain additional market share.

Kira resides in Richland, WA

Vestaron Adds Dan Albritton as South East Sales Rep.

Vestaron welcomes Daniel Albritton to the team!  Dan will be the SE Technical Sales Representative developing business in FL and GA.  He joins the team most recently from Howard’s Fertilizer and will reside with his wife Elise and two daughters Charlotte Grace and Ruby Claire in Madison, FL.

BFG and Vestaron “Cultivate” Spear-T Distribution Agreement

July 10, 2019 – (Kalamazoo, Michigan) – Vestaron, a company dedicated to improving the efficacy and sustainability within crop protection and BFG Supply, have recently signed a distribution agreement to bring Spear-T to ornamental and greenhouse vegetable growers.  

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with BFG Supply to bring this new technology to greenhouse growers.  BFG’s market presence and industry knowledge will be critical to expand the uses of not only Spear-T but also the new products following close behind,” explains Ben Cicora, SVP Sales & Marketing, “ 

Both Cicora and BFG Category Manager for Crop Protection, Todd Regenscheid, are pleased with the new partnership and its clear message to the industry. “BFG Supply’s goal is to present new & revolutionary technology to our customers and stay on the front edge of resistance management as a resource for growers.  The new peptide technology form Vestaron fills a great need in the market for environmentally friendly crop protection chemistries and resistance management tools” states Regenscheid. “This is the type of product our customers are looking for as a safe and versatile rotation partner in integrated pest management programs,” Regenscheid continues.

Spear-T controls the four major greenhouse pests – aphids, spider mites, thrips, and whiteflies – as efficiently as conventional insecticides, and with the safety and sustainability of biologicals. With an excellent safety profile for pollinators and other beneficials, Spear-T also has a short 4-hour restricted-entry interval and 0-day pre-harvest interval. 

About Vestaron Corporation

Vestaron is a company dedicated to improving the safety, efficacy and sustainability of crop protection through displacement of chemical pesticides with biological peptides. Vestaron is initially focused on a class of peptides that kills insect pests efficiently, but is safe for humans, birds, fish and the environment. As part of this, the company has developed fermentation-based peptide production and insect resistant crop platform that will allow it to develop a wide variety of biologic crop protection and trait products. 

More information at vestaron.com    SPEAR® is a registered trademark of Vestaron Corporation.

About BFG Supply

Founded in 1972, BFG Supply has a long and proud history of serving the Professional Grower and Lawn & Garden industries. Today BFG Supply is the best it has ever been and has a strong vision for the future. As an industry innovator, BFG is on the forefront of new and useful technology to increase our efficiency and more effectively serve our customers. With over 250 employees, BFG continues to grow by entering new markets, expanding our service area, offering new products and providing our customers with market leading technology solutions.

More information at bfgsupply.com

Vestaron pursuing global expansion of agchem pipeline, CEO says

Vestaron, a Kalamazoo, Michigan-based developer of biologic crop protection products, is evaluating its options to accelerate its global expansion, said CEO Anna Rath.

“At one end of the spectrum, we could choose to sell international rights to our products and use that proceeds to further development in the US,” she said. “Atthe other end of the spectrum, we could decide to proceed with international registrations on our own, so that we maintain full ownership of all international rights and are then in a position to gain a larger share of the downstream value from the product.”

The company, which provides peptide-based biopesticides for field and greenhouse growers with a focus on protecting high-value crops, is eyeing Canada and Mexico as key markets for near-term expansion, Rath said. Vestaron has initiated trials in both countries, she added.

The European Union, whose regulators have been pushing for environmentally friendly agricultural chemical (agchem) products, as well as major agricultural markets in Latin America and Asia also hold promise, Rath added.

Vestaron has taken in USD 86m in outside capital to-date—most recently raising USD 40m in a Series B round. Rath said the company could tap outside markets for additional funding early next year as it grows outside the US.

“It really depends on what kind of international strategy we decide to pursue,and how aggressively we decide to move the pipeline ahead,” she explained.

Founded by a molecular biologist at University of Queensland, Vestaron has launched two products that target greenhouse and field growers in all 50 US states. It sells through a network of distributors and retailers, according to Rath.

Last June, Rath was named Vestaron’s CEO, succeeding John Sorenson whodied early last year, to lead the firm’s transition from the R&D phase tocommercialization.

Vestaron’s investors include Novo Holdings, Anterra Capital, Cultivian Sandbox, Open Prairie Ventures and Pangaea Ventures.

Vestaron is unique in that it is focused on biologic molecules that have proven modes of action and safety and environmental attributes, Rath said. The CEO compared Vestaron’s strategy to the transition the pharmaceutical industry underwent 20 years ago, from a focus on small-molecule chemicals to a focus on safer biologicals.

Vestaron aims to expand its product portfolio to include a broad range of biological crop protection products such as fungicides and antimicrobials and to eventually become “the leader in developing peptide-based biologic protection products,” Rath said.

For the long term, Rath said Vestaron will likely make an attractive target for major agchem companies, declining to provide additional details. The company could also “easily” be an IPO candidate, she said, although there is no set timing for an exit at this time.

“Vestaron is the clear parallel to Amgen or Genentech, which were the first companies to really work with the bigger biological molecules—but with known isolated molecules where you could completely understand their modes of action,” she said. “There is no reason why Vestaron couldn’t be the Amgen or the Genentech of agchem.”

Amgen [NASDA:AMGN] and Genentech, now a Roche Group [OTCMKTS:RHHBY] company, went public in 1983 and 1980, respectively.

The CEO declined to disclose the company’s financials but said it expects to add 15 employees to its current 20 by year-end.

~ by Liying Qian in Chicago

Vestaron Hires Ash Patel as COO

June 20, 2019 – (Kalamazoo, Michigan) – Ash Patel is the most recent hire as Vestaron continues to round out its corporate leadership team and fulfill its mission of revolutionizing the agricultural insecticide landscape. As an accomplished operations director with more than 23 years of experience leading manufacturing, engineering, capital projects, supply chain, and IT/automation systems, Patel is the ideal leader for this role.

“With a background including global manufacturing and supply chain management experience in multi-national biotech companies and a strong focus on value creation, we believe the transition for Ash will be seamless,” shared Anna Rath, CEO of Vestaron. Rath continues to explain, “Ash’s previous roles, encompassing fermentation-based manufacturing oversight, plant expansions, supply chain management and international experience in LATAM, APAC, and Europe, as well as experience with regulated manufacturing processes comprise the resume Vestaron’s leadership team and board were searching for.”

With the recent commercialization of Vestaron’s first peptide-based bioinsecticides, the company was seeking someone who could help it meet increasing volume requirements while streamlining and reducing risk in the manufacturing process. Ash joined the team on June 12, shortly after the organization announced its Series B funding and completes the corporations’ senior executive team. “The recent success of the new IRAC group 32 coupled with the last round of fundraising clearly showed the potential Vestaron has, and I am pleased to have become a part of the team,” expressed Patel.
Patel will oversee all of Vestaron’s manufacturing and supply chain operations, including associated regulatory processes, throughout the globe.

June 10, 2019, 10:00 am EST – (Kalamazoo, Michigan) – Vestaron, a company dedicated to improving the safety, efficacy and sustainability of crop protection through its development of peptide-based biopesticides, announces its $40 million Series B Financing, led by Novo Holdings A/S.  Novo Holdings joins continuing investors Anterra Capital, Cultivian Sandbox, Open Prairie Ventures, and Pangaea Ventures.

Peck Joins the Vestaron Team

Vestaron Hires Field Development Biologist

April 22, 2019 – (Kalamazoo, Michigan) – Daniel Peck, Ph.D., is the most recent team member to join Vestaron Corp. As a Field Development Biologist, Peck began orientation by meeting the R&D team in Kalamazoo the week of April 15.

Daniel earned his bachelor’s degree in zoology and entomology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and his doctorate in entomology from Cornell University. He is a Board Certified Entomologist with the Entomological Society of America and a Certified Senior Ecologist with the Ecological Society of America.

Peck brings to Vestaron 25 years of prior experience in insect pest management. This most recently includes 3½ years working as a Product Development Manager and then Biological Program Manager at BioWorks, Inc. based in Victor, NY. His research and development efforts there were aimed at developing, coalescing and promoting the scientific validation behind biologically based products for their role in insect management, disease suppression and plant nutrition.

“Daniel’s extensive insect pest management experience will be put to immediate use serving our customers in the eastern US,” explains Ben Cicora, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “However, we are looking forward to having his expertise as a resource for the entire organization as we continue to grow and expand our footprint.”

Peck also has prior experience as an independent consultant in the area of turfgrass entomology; as an Assistant Professor at Cornell University in the area of soil insect ecology; and as a Senior Research Fellow at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Cali, Colombia) in the area of integrated pest management.

Vestaron Appoints Jessica Vanhoy as Chief Financial Officer

Jessica Vanhoy joined the company as Chief Financial Officer in April of 2019. Most recently Director of Financial Planning and Analysis for Dova Pharmaceuticals, Jessica has 20 years’ experience in accounting and finance, fostering teamwork through adversity. She holds a BSBA in Accounting from Appalachian State University, an MBA from Campbell University, and is a certified public accountant in the state of North Carolina.