Arkion Life Sciences
Arkion® Life Sciences is a technology-based company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets environmentally friendly proprietary products and technology. They have developed several break-through products for the agricultural industry that include safe, non-lethal bird and insect repellents, nutrition products for both animals and humans as well as an organically based mosquito repellent. Arkion’s growth from a consortium of start-up and other companies to a leader in their field is exemplary, which is why they were chosen for this month’s Member Spotlight. They are expected to grow to over $50 million in revenue by 2023. We interviewed Dr. Earnie Porta, CEO of Arkion Life Sciences.
DE Bio: How did Arkion get started and how long have you been in business?
Dr. Porta: Arkion started in 1987 as a joint venture between DuPont and ConAgra to produce and market an animal feed supplement. It grew to thirteen separate joint ventures (several existing businesses and technology startups). The group of ventures was called DCV. In 1997 the management team consisting of former DuPont and ConAgra employees with a venture capital firm bought DCV from DuPont and ConAgra. The existing business was sold off over time and the current management team for Arkion Life Sciences purchased the new technology Initiatives from the venture capital firm in 2001. Arkion developed and started up several business initiatives based on the proprietary patented technology [Intellectual Property] it had acquired. The businesses have grown with the addition of other proprietary technologies many through partnerships with others including several with the USDA.
DE Bio: What were some of your challenges in developing environmentally friendly products?
Dr. Porta: The greatest challenge for Arkion as a small company was to maintain a long-term focus on the development of proprietary technology and the establishment of a strong patent estate. At the same time, we must introduce initial products to the marketplace to support this continuing development.
Our mission is to develop proprietary technologies and unique products to address and solve problems that have not been solved or addressed in a natural, non-toxic environmentally friendly way. Our Motto which appears on all our stationery and letters is “Providing Tomorrow’s Innovative Solutions Today.”
DE Bio: What were some of the challenges you faced in bringing these products to market?
Dr. Porta: Probably the two greatest challenges in bringing our products to the market relates to our limitations as a small company: First, generating enough capital to move as fast as we would like, and second, developing an understanding of how to deal with the EPA to receive approval for our agricultural products. This regulatory process caused unnecessary delays and costs in getting products to market.
DE Bio: Can you talk about your main product areas?
Dr. Porta: Arkion has four main product areas:
Agricultural crop protection products – unique bird repellent technology. Our products are not toxic and replaced methods that killed the birds. These include:
- AVIPEL® – Protects Corn seed and seedlings from birds and is the only effective product on the market
- AV1011® – Protects Rice seed and seedlings from birds, also the only effective product on the market
- Flight Control®Plus– Maintains turf areas such as parks, golf courses, athletic fields, home residences free of geese and their droppings
Animal/human health and nutrition. These include:
- Supplement products to provide passive immunity support for calves, swine, and poultry and are sold under the brand names of customers
- Supplement products to provide passive immunity support for humans also sold under the brand names of customers
Biotechnical resources – Contract Process R&D:
- Optimizes existing biotech process for companies
- Develops processes for biotech startups and produces products for testing
- Develops Arkion biotech processes
DE Bio: Are there any new products coming on the market and when?
Dr. Porta: We introduced several new products this year with more scheduled to be introduced next year. These include:
A new natural mosquito/tick control product
- StopTheBites® – Proprietary Natural Product that can effectively control mosquitos and tick. It can be used in place of the current neurotoxin products was introduced this year.
New agricultural crop protection products that focus on bird repellent for use in new areas and the introduction of effective rodent repellents
- New AVIPEL®, AV1011®, and FLIGHTCONTROL products with improved bird repellency will be introduced in 2019.
- AV5005- a new product which protects foliar rice from birds has been approved for use on Rice in Ghana where 50% of Rice is lost to birds. Initial commercial applications will start in early 2019. The same problem exists in many African countries and we are in discussions with several of them.
- AV5055 will be submitted for EPA approval in 2018.
- We are exploring the use of our bird repellents as a safening agent for other products.
- VOLE REPELLENT – We are introducing a product to protect fruit tree and grapevines from voles which eat the bark from the base of the plant.
- NEW POULTRY IMMUNE PRODUCT – we will introduce two new immune support products for poultry applications 2019.ABR is a proprietary patent-pending natural product to support the poultry immune system against necrotic enteritis when antibiotics are not used. RV is a proprietary natural product to deal with Reovirus problems in Poultry.
DE Bio: Where will Arkion be in say, 5, 10, even 20 years?
Dr. Porta: It will depend on how quickly the new products are accepted into the marketplace. Based on current projections of the new products being introduced in 2018 and 2019, Arkion expects to have sales of $50-100 million by 2023.