GENTECH archive


Re: New Novartis Patent


I don't know the whole background to the Novartis patent, but most of what
you wrote about it seems to relate to insecticides like imidacloprid (a
neonicodinoid or nitroguanidino-compound product of Bayer), which by itself
has very poor activity against caterpillars (Lepidoptera), including cotton
leaf worms and bollworms (Spodoptera  and Heliothis species).  The second
patent relates to other inseciticides, including pymetrozine (a Novartis

It appears from what you emailed that Novartis has discovered that these
insecticides are synergistic with Bt, which is surprising. As Novartis
claims (from your VI message, archive 2407), reduced application rates of
the pesticides would be possible. Presumably Novartis is applying for a
"use patent" in support of their discovery. They have also covered
themselves by listing every possible transgenic plant, including several
for which there is no evidence of efficacy and others that would be
unlikely to ever get through the regulatory process.

Imidacloprid and pymetrozine are very effective against sucking pests like
whiteflies. Bt in contrast, is not effective against whiteflies and many
more of the pests listed.  There is nothing in the materials you sent that
implies that the patent "seems to be a cover up to hide the inefficiency of
Bt plants and the fact that resistant strains have developed", contrary to
the assertion of your first two messages (archives 2397 and 2398).  Indeed,
there is no "fact that resistant strains have developed".

I have not reviewed the patent, but I would be surprised if the pesticides
and transgenic plants are truly syneristic (which implies greater than
additive effects).

By the way, the data on imidacloprid (a product of Bayer) and (a product of
Novartis) indicates that both are much safer to humans and the environment
than many of the carbamate and organophosphate insectides they replace.