DuPont molecule set to become a blockbuster

Harish Damodaran New Delhi | Updated on June 27, 2013

Insecticide Rynaxypyr does Rs 650-crore business in India in 2012

The term ‘blockbuster’ is normally associated either with movies or drugs — the likes of Lipitor, Avastin and Viagra.

Now, there is another claimant, even if not as glamorous: pesticides. Take chlorantraniliprole, a patented insecticide molecule of DuPont, known by the trade name Rynaxypyr.

Launched in late 2008, its global sales crossed $750 million last year.

Although well below the $1.9 billion that Viagra raised at its peak for Pfizer, it is within striking distance of the $1 billion annual revenue mark defining a ‘blockbuster’.

The significant point about Rynaxypyr — marketed as ‘Coragen’ solution and ‘Ferterra’ granular formulation — is that it has done very well in India too, since first being sprayed in the rabi season of 2008.

According to Ram K. Mudholkar, South Asia Director of DuPont’s Crop Protection business, the $35-billion American chemical major sold 400,000 litres of ‘Coragen’ and 10,000 tonnes of ‘Ferterra’ in India in 2012.

Sales growth

While he refused to translate these into revenues, at an average farmer price of Rs 12,000/litre for ‘Coragen’ and Rs 160/kg for ‘Ferterra’, it works out to roughly Rs 650 crore.

Even from a company realisation standpoint, DuPont would have grossed almost Rs 500 crore from Rynaxypyr in India last year.

“This year, I expect volume growth of 15 per cent for ‘Coragen’ and 25 per cent from ‘Ferterra’. No single molecule has seen this pace of adoption in such a short time,”said Mudholkar.

Range of targets

Rynaxypyr, based on a new class of insecticides called anthranilic diamides, is used against a broad spectrum of larvae that bore into and feed on the tender shoots, stems, flower buds and fruits of a variety of crops.

These include stem borer and leaf folder in paddy; early shoot borer and top borer in sugarcane; green semilooper in soyabean; heliothis in arhar, chillies and tomato; fruit and shoot borer in brinjal; and diamond back moth in cabbage.

Mudholkar estimates the total crop area in India treated with Rynaxypyr last year at 75 lakh acres.

Much of the area covered was under paddy (34-35 lakh acres), followed by pulses (13-14 lakh acres), soyabean and vegetables (10 lakh acres each), and sugarcane (3 lakh acres).

The coverage is even more impressive at an individual State/crop level. Haryana, for instance, has an aggregate sugarcane area of 2.2 lakh acres, of which the 25,000 litres of Coragen sold by DuPont this year would have treated nearly 1.7 lakh acres or 75 per cent.

Published on June 27, 2013

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