Calix receives approval for its product BOOSTER-Mag in Australia

Australian environmental technology company Calix Limited (ASX: CXL) announced it has received Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) approval for its safe, environmentally-friendly crop protection product, BOOSTER-Mag.

According to a peer-reviewed study by Francisco Sánchez-Bayo of the University of Sydney and Kris Wyckhuys of the University of Queensland in Australia: “Unless we change our way of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades.”

Demand is growing for sustainable alternatives

Calix BOOSTER-Mag, a foliar spray that both acts as a fertiliser and assists with crop protection, fulfils the market’s need for non-toxic products that can help manage crops.

Highlights of media release:

  • In January 2020, Calix submitted an application to the APVMA seeking registration for BOOSTER-Mag 609 SC as a non-lethal insecticide for the suppression of two-spotted mite (Tetranychus urticae) in tomatoes and cucurbits (field and protected crops).
  • APVMA concluded its review this month and has approved the application.
  • BOOSTER-Mag can now be supplied or sold and used safely according to the label directions by farmers (using the issue of product registration number #89101).
  • BOOSTER-Mag aims to reduce farmer input costs and produce food more sustainably.
  • The initial registration has been approved, reflecting intrinsic BOOSTER-Mag safety.
  • Large-scale field trials indicate that regular foliar application of BOOSTER-Mag allows for a material reduction in the use of conventional pesticides without compromising crop yield.
  • The initial label registration creates a bioactive materials platform; establishing product safety and paves the way for expedited approval for use in more applications.

This initial registration validates that Calix materials can be safely applied to suppress a destructive crop pest. With suppression efficacy also apparent on crop pests and a variety of crop diseases, the initial registration provides a solid basis to expand the addressable market.

BOOSTER-Mag description / history

Calix’s core calcination technology enables the production of materials characterised by their high porosity. Due to the intrinsic safety of produced materials, Calix has focused on the production of magnesium oxide and magnesium hydroxide products which are bioactive, early studies indicated that materials were capable of supressing destructive crop diseases.

BOOSTER-Mag is a suspension concentrate (SC) of bioactive magnesium hydroxide, developed as a foliar treatment to supress a variety of crop insect pests and diseases.

Large-scale field trials have indicated that regular foliar application of BOOSTER-Mag reduces farmer reliance on conventional pesticides without compromising crop yield or yield quality.

The BOOSTER-Mag value proposition can be summarised as a means to reduce farmer input costs and produce food more sustainably. With the support of funding through the AusIndustry Accelerated Commercialisation program, Calix completed a six-year program, culminating in the January 2020 submission of a technical dossier to the APVMA.

In June 2021, it was announced that the Australian Government’s Manufacturing Modernisation Fund (MMF) would support Calix to transform its biotech manufacturing capability at its Bacchus Marsh facility in Victoria through the award of a grant of $1 million.

The MMF grant is being used to establish an advanced manufacturing capability for, bioactive materials for crop protection, marine coatings, and health and pharmaceutical applications.

International collaboration, supported by the Australian Government, with the Greek research organisation, CERTH, developed insights into the mode of action of BOOSTER-Mag on tomatoes by measuring the microbiological response of the sprayed plants. The results support a view that BOOSTER-Mag may have a broad range of applications in agriculture.

APVMA explained

In Australia, all agricultural and veterinary chemical products sold are required to be registered by the APVMA. APVMA acts as a regulator of agricultural and veterinary (Agvet) products.

The registration process involves evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a product in order to protect the health and safety of people, animals, plants and the environment.

APVMA regulates Agvet products up to the point of retail sale. Once approved by the APVMA, a product can be sold for the sole purposes and uses as stated on the product’s label.

Market size and need

The initial label in Australia allows BOOSTER-Mag to be applied for the suppression of two spotted mite in tomato and cucurbit crops, which present a market estimated at 16,000 ha.

Both tomato and cucurbit crops are vulnerable to insect pests, as such, conventional pesticides are critical. In addition, BOOSTER-Mag is part of several larger field trials overseas where other types of crops and applications (eg anti-fungi) are being evaluated.

Next Steps

Calix is developing commercial relationships with specialist global crop protection companies with the expertise and capability to fully utilise Calix’s material bioactivity.

BOOSTER-Mag field trials are currently underway to support initial market entry and extend the BOOSTER-Mag label, allowing for its use in major crops in Australia and internationally and increasing the addressable market, which conservatively is estimated at 500,000 ha.