German chemicals company BASF and Israeli biotech firm Evogene have completed the first project milestone of their new collaboration effort focusing on the development of novel insecticides.

The collaboration project, announced together with the companies’ first results, is looking to discover new binding areas – or sites of action (SOA) – in insecticidal proteins, the companies said in a 29 May statement.

The first achieved milestone was the nomination of a set of novel SOAs that were discovered by Evogene, which would now move to the next project phase and begin looking for bioactive compounds relevant to the SOAs.

In the next phase of the collaboration, Evogene would use its Computational Predictive Biology (CPB) platform to identify potential chemical compounds that could act on the newly discovered proteins and SOAs.

“Finding effective chemistries that have increases electivity between harmful insects and non-target species is one of the main innovation drivers in our industry,” said Harold Bastiaans, vice president of Global R&D Insecticides at BASF crop protection.

Once the compounds were identified, they would enter BASF’s insecticide discovery platform for insect efficacy screening and testing to determine the chemistry’s ability to modulate the target proteins, the firms said.

The companies gave no projections of when any possible new products would enter the marketplace.