In this feature, we turn the spotlight onto some of the key companies within our industry. In this edition, we look at global rodenticide manufacturer Liphatech.
Liphatech is a French-founded company that has uniquely focused on the development of anticoagulant chemicals since its inception. Formerly a pharmaceutical company researching treatments for heart disease in humans, the discovery of chlorophacinone in 1961 changed the direction of the business. As an anticoagulant unsuitable for human use, but which made an excellent rodenticide, Lipha (as it was then known) changed tack and became an R&D company focusing on the development of active ingredients for use in rodenticides.
The discovery of chlorophacinone – the first anticoagulant specifically used for rodent control – was followed by the discovery of bromadiolone in the 1970s and difethialone in the late 1980s. Many pest managers may not realise that Liphatech discovered three of the eight major actives used in rodenticide products today.
Originally established in Lyon, France, Liphatech opened its US office in Milwaukee after its discovery of difethialone in 1987. Today, the employee-owned company continues to operate out of France and the US, and has grown to become a global name in rodent control. In 2002, the company became part of the De Sangosse Group, a major international agricultural supply company, whose range includes specialist plant nutrition products, adjuvants and slug protection solutions.
Leading the change
Liphatech took its actives and used them to develop a suite of chemical products as well as accompanying mechanical solutions, such as traps and bait stations. Romain Broch, operations manager for Liphatech, said, “Liphatech has always allocated a generous R&D budget to the discovery of new chemical and mechanical solutions. The continuous development of better formulations has culminated in the launch of our soft bait range in recent years.”
Pest managers will most likely be familiar with Liphatech’s difethialone soft bait, Generation FirstStrike. First launched in the US in 2008, the product was met with some scepticism, in what was traditionally a block bait market. Now, 11 years on, soft baits form part of the product range of all major rodenticide manufacturers.
“Soft bait has become firmly established; if you want quick clean out and quick results, it’s a product of choice,” said Mr Broch. “Liphatech is proud to have been the instigator of this trend towards soft bait rather than traditional blocks. Our latest product release, Resolv Soft Bait, is based on the Generation FirstStrike formulation, but uses bromadiolone instead. Having two soft baits available, each using a different active, gives pest managers greater choice.”
The new soft bait comes with revised label directions regarding bait station placement to ensure maximum efficacy in the field. The change is just one example of the continual improvement program led by Liphatech’s regulatory team
Products for real-world situations
Established in Australia in 2005, Liphatech offers the largest variety of rodenticide baits in the country. Its products are centred on bromodialone and difethialone and include soft baits, blocks, drinks, grains and pellets.
Liphatech subjects its products to stringent in-house testing on wild, captured rodents rather than the traditional white lab rodents. Liphatech’s long-standing partnership with a veterinary school in France sees wild rodents being captured and used in product palatability trials.
“White lab rats have very different feeding behaviours to wild rats,” explained Mr Broch. “By using wild rats, we can be confident that the results we see in the lab are what we can expect in the field. This is what sets us apart from our competitors.
“Our multi-million euro R&D program in partnership with universities and private companies also further develops our understanding of rodent behaviour. By understanding them, and their behaviour, we can find innovative solutions for rodent control.”
Responding to pest managers’ needs
Although only established relatively recently in Australia, Liphatech has built a good relationship with those in the industry. Its two-way communication with pest managers has led to product innovation, too.
“The conversation between pest managers and our technical team has sprouted a few unique products,” said Mr Broch. “Maki Wrapped, for example, came about through conversations we had with pest managers at a large pest control company. At one of the sites they managed, bordered by natural bushland with a lot of flower beds, slugs and snails were eating 90% of the rodent baits in the stations. They had tried all the usual home remedies, and insecticides, but without success.
“In Europe we were selling individually wrapped baits to ensure their longevity. We decided to give it a go for this new purpose. Awell as protecting the bait itself, the wrapper excluded non-target pests. This also meant the pest managers could start to reliably report on bait consumption at the site.”
Also in response to pest managers’ feedback, Liphatech designed the Aegis Trap, an all-in-one bait station and snap trap that is set externally using a pull cord. If the yellow dongle on the cord is at a distance from the station, the trap is empty; if the dongle is close to the station, the trap has been triggered. This means that pest managers can check their stations at a glance without the need to check each individual trap, helping them save time on the job. Liphatech’s hardware innovation continues with the launch of its digital rodent control solutions, due to be rolled out in the coming years.