With the recent EPA approval (http://nnw.fm/X82tJ) of SenesTech’s (NASDAQ: SNES) ContraPest®, a humane, liquid contraceptive bait designed to address unwieldy rodent populations, there now appears to be an impending end to the unsustainable rodenticide paradigm that has persisted for decades due to a lack of other options. SenesTech is Arizona’s newest public company, as of its December 8 IPO (http://nnw.fm/m4xhG) on the NASDAQ Capital Market. The publicly traded stock gives investors a big opportunity to get in on the ground floor behind a proprietary and potentially paradigm-shattering technology that is not only safe to humans, but also drastically less impactful to the environment.
The roughly $724 million global rodenticides market continues to grow at a healthy pace on the strength of demand from residential, municipal and agricultural consumers. Zion Market Research recently pegged (http://nnw.fm/eiU1t) the forward CAGR at around 5.6 percent through 2021, when the sector will likely break the billion dollar mark for the first time. One of the only two things slowing the rodenticides market down is the impact of these various poisons on the environment and the splash damage of their use to household pets and infants. This is a daunting industry concern which has, in part, helped fuel ever more stringent government regulations on the purchase and use of such poisons.
As SenesTech’s CEO, Dr. Loretta Mayer, explained during a spot on famed physicist Stephen Hawking’s show (http://nnw.fm/G5iuc): the poison paradigm itself is inherently flawed. The primary defect of the existing paradigm, identified by SenesTech, boils down to the fact that even if you manage to kill off all the rats in a given environment where they are able to flourish, more rats will just move in and reload the carrying capacity. Hence the ingeniousness of SenesTech’s ContraPest, the first ever rodent fertility control product approved by the FDA and EPA alike, whose active ingredients pose no threat to human reproductive activity and metabolize quickly (under 15 minutes) in rodents. This means that if a family pet eats a dosed rodent, there is no risk it will suffer reproductive impairment. The primary synthetic active ingredient in ContraPest, VCD (4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide) (http://nnw.fm/Xvf8l), has been used for decades in manufacturing soaps and cosmetics without toxicity to humans being an issue, and it also breaks down rapidly in water, meaning there is no risk of environmental accumulation.
By acting to chemically speed up the natural rate at which eggs deplete in females (resulting in early menopause), as well as inducing follicle (primordial and primary) depletion and testis disruption in males (both in a highly targeted fashion), ContraPest is able to achieve sterilization without systemic toxicity or adverse side effects. This is a key advantage which makes ContraPest an extremely attractive, non-lethal option.
This product has a completely different profile than rodenticides containing ingredients like bromadiolone and brodifacoum, which are hugely toxic. In fact, they are as much as 200 times more toxic than more typical warfarin and hydroxycoumadin based products. A non-lethal chemical sterilizer that won’t do splash damage or accumulate is a very interesting vector for controlling a whole host of populations. Indeed, the potential exists with SenesTech’s technology to similarly address a wide variety of other mammalian pests (like gophers, moles, skunks, and voles) using uniquely formulated versions of the non-lethal solution. And the technology could even evolve into a humane vector for curbing out-of-control companion animal populations, as well as animals like wild deer or hogs.
Think about it. We have been using poisons at sizeable volumes for decades to curb rat populations, especially in large cities like NYC, and we still have enormous, increasingly unaddressable rodent control problems on our hands. Despite shelling out around $3 million last year to fight the furry invaders (http://nnw.fm/2UmQ8), the rat population in NYC ballooned north of 2 million. The city saw a high of 15,272 complaints in 2015, a nearly 45 percent increase (http://nnw.fm/Nns1m) over the last five years. Council Member Inez Dickens was quoted earlier this year as saying that one cannot even sit in Central Park sometimes because the rat problem is so bad. One of the main underlying logistical issues is the abundance of literal rat reservoirs in parks, sewers and subways where teeming rat populations continue to thwart all attempts at effective management using standard practices.
For just one example site in NYC, pest control personnel put down tens of traps and hundreds of pounds of poison over a period of three months, with negligible improvements to the rat population. This kind of case history underscores the sheer futility in certain cases of attempting to address the problem using existing poisoning methods. Moreover, when used in homes, rat poisons are a significant danger to both children and pets. There are more than 10,000 children exposed to rat poison each year (http://nnw.fm/p5NJp) and nearly all of them are under three years of age.
Rats are quite intelligent and actually learn to avoid traps too. Thus, as long as a ready food supply of some kind exists in proximity, rodents are much less likely to eat what is typically powdered poison, or mess around with anything that even looks like a trap. Here is another typical use area where ContraPest can really shine, in that the product is formulated in two yummy flavors. A super-sweet condensed milk-like liquid and a semi-soft bait that is the consistency of cream cheese. Both flavor/texture profiles were chosen by SenesTech because they have been shown to be highly appetizing to rats. There are diminishing returns built right into the economics of poisoning rats and this little company could potentially flip the script on a soon-to-be billion dollar global rodenticides market.
SenesTech’s approach to the management of rodent populations makes perfect sense. Rats reach sexual maturity in only eight to 12 weeks and can have a staggering six or more litters per year. This means that a single female can, over the course of only nine months, give rise to some 1.75 million descendants.
We have been hacking at the branches for decades – but with the advent of the SenesTech IPO, investors have gained access to a potential superstar that is striking directly at the root in a market that is not yet fully understood. And SNES is striking with a specially formulated solution that was clever enough to previously land a $1.1 million grant from the NIH to pursue more comprehensive field trials. It’s important to note that SNES didn’t just build a better mousetrap. The company has successfully engineered a product that gets rid of the need for mousetraps in the first place. No more fishing for slain rats in the HVAC system that are producing some unidentifiable smell, and no more paying for exterminators at hundreds if not thousands of dollars a pop. Things look good for this young disruptor, and with the exposure a NASDAQ listing brings, SenesTech could have the kind of financial leeway needed to really take things to the next level.
It’s no wonder the company did a big management restructure back in January (http://nnw.fm/D5e1z), the crystallizing force behind its already impressive momentum. Key additions were made, such as a former president and CEO of a Roche Group member company, as well as a founder of the well-known alfalfa and stevia-focused proprietary seed company, S&W Seed (NASDAQ: SANW). Dr. Mayer reasserted her control as CEO and board chair at that same time, as well as dropping the dime on the company’s emerging global commercialization partnerships that could see ContraPest tap directly into the broader international rodenticide space.
To take a closer look, visit www.SenesTech.com
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