BSI says its proprietary biotechnology platform eliminates the major barriers, such as supply and quality issues, which have prevented traditional botanicals from becoming commercially successful.
BSI’s first commercially successful product is the biofungicide BotriStop, which is based on a tree native to Chile, the Quillaja saponaria. The seed round of funding is supporting product production and sales growth of BotriStop biofungicide initially in Chile through BSI’s distribution partner Syngenta. BotriStop will soon be registered in a number of key Latin American countries and regulatory progress is expected in the U.S. and E.U. during 2021.
BSI’s in-lab growth capabilities for Quillaja saponaria plants using biotechnology processes will serve additional purposes, such as the sustainable production of billions of doses of the ‘Gold Standard’ adjuvant QS-21, currently used in Covid-19 and other vaccines. QS-21 has been in relatively short supply due to strict deforestation laws in Chile.
As a result of BSI’s proprietary technique for extracting this human immune system activator when the trees are in vitro, the company says it can meet worldwide demand for QS-21 right from its own laboratories, and do so without harming any trees.
BSI plans to become a major supplier of pharmaceutical grade QS-21 to address the serious challenges presented by the imminent shortage of this key vaccine adjuvant.
BSI received $3.3 million in funding from multiple organizations, most recently including the International Development Bank (IDB). Other investors include Inmobiliaria e Inversiones el Coigue, El Viento, Sociedad de Invesiones Celta, The Yield Lab Business Accelerator, Ganeshalab Business Accelerator, Sembrador Capital, and ‘angel investors’ Ignacio Smith and Wolfgang Schuch.
“BSI has a breakthrough technology for the cost-effective and reliable production of high-quality botanicals for agriculture and pharma, filling critical gaps in these markets,” said Gastón Salinas, chief executive officer, BSI. “We are currently addressing key strategic and distribution issues, and are well-positioned to solve major problems in the areas of sustainable agriculture and large-scale production and reliable supply of QS-21 for pharma.”