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27 May 2020 | 10:29

Plant Health Care shares surge on field trial data

(Sharecast News) - Shares in agricultural biological products company Plant Health Care surged on Wednesday morning, after it released positive data from the completed 2019 field trials of its 'PREtec' peptide 'PHC279' for the control of plant diseases in corn, wheat and lettuce crops. The AIM-traded firm said that in US corn, PHC279 increased yields by between 9% and 15% when applied as a foliar spray, creating potential grower value of $54 to $82 per acre at current average prices.

It added that PHC279 "significantly improved" the control of two key corn diseases by as much as 50%, even under heavy disease pressure.

In spring wheat, Plant Health Care said PHC279 increased yields by as much as 17% when added to the standard disease control programme, which was worth $86 per acre at current prices.

Finally, in lettuce, the company said PHC279 increased yields by as much as 22% compared to fungicides alone.

The product also improved disease control by up to 31%, following foliar application.

"We are extremely encouraged with the performance of PHC279 in multiple key crops," said chief executive officer Chris Richards.

"Building on our recent success with PHC279 for the control of Asian soybean rust in Brazil, it is clear PHC279 will have important benefits for farmers in many crops."

Richards said the registration of the company's first PREtec peptide was progressing in the United States and Brazil, and the scale-up of manufacturing had begun.

"We are excited about the potential for products based on our PREtec peptides, which are targeting markets with an initial opportunity of $5bn.

"We aim to launch the first peptides as soon as regulatory permits have been obtained, to offer these valuable new tools to growers in the US and other countries."

At 1022 BST, shares in Plant Health Care were up 48.6% at 9.47p.
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