The pandemic has hit revenues at Oxfordshire-based Eden Research, which develops sustainable biopesticides for global crop protection
Revenues are expected to be approximately £1.6 million, down from £2 million the previous year with a loss before tax and statutory operating loss of approximately £2.6 million.
Product sales during the period were affected by the impact of the global pandemic on the hospitality industry which, in turn, affected wine grape production methods and, inevitably, the widespread use of crop protection products. In addition, regulatory processes around the world were impacted by wide-scale disruptions to the working practices of government agencies as a direct consequence of the pandemic. As a result, a number of product approvals which had been expected in the year, and which should have resulted in product sales, were delayed.
The cash position at the year-end was £7.3 million aided by a fundraise of £10.4 million in March 2020, which saw multiple new institutional investors joining the share register. This has provided Eden with the financial resources to invest in the development of its insecticide and seed treatment products.
At the beginning of 2020, Eden signed a one-year exclusive Evaluation Agreement with Corteva. Corteva is the fourth largest agriculture input company in the world and is a publicly traded, pure-play agriculture company created by the combination of DuPont Crop Protection, DuPont Pioneer seeds and Dow AgroSciences. This agreement allowed Corteva time to exclusively evaluate Eden’s Sustaine encapsulation technology and several formulations in specific seed treatment applications. If successful, it was anticipated that this would lead to Corteva being granted exclusive distribution rights, on terms to be negotiated, initially targeting several major crops, including broad acre crops.
This represents Eden’s first collaborative development efforts in the area of seed treatments as well as the first disclosed collaboration with a global leader in agricultural inputs. Additionally, this is the most comprehensive work done by to date on major broad-acre crops using Eden’s technologies.
Last year Eden set up its own laboratory facilities on site, alongside a new office. Relocating to the new site at Milton Park in Oxfordshire, one of Europe’s leading science and technology communities, means that the company is now able to undertake development work in-house for the first time, which allows increased flexibility, speed and efficiency.
Sean Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Eden, said: “It has been an unprecedented year for businesses across the globe, and Eden has not been immune to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are proud of the resilience we have demonstrated against this exceptional backdrop and the continued progress we have made in advancing our strategy and positioning Eden for growth in the rapidly growing biopesticides market.
“The financial year has seen us expand our footprint, both geographically and through new product development, supported by the successful fund raise delivered in March 2020.
“We were also delighted to be the first company to receive the London Stock Exchange’s Green Economy Mark in January 2021. This recognises the role we are playing in supporting the transition to sustainable agriculture and highlights our credentials as an attractive ‘green’ investment opportunity on the London market.”