Harnessing sustainable insect pheromones for natural crop management
To reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture through pheromone-based integrated pest management strategies
To enable more effective pest control
To improve efficiency of crop treatment and reduce costs of pesticide deployment
To help mitigate climate change
View our introductory video below:
Control of insect pests in agriculture usually involves crop spraying with insecticides. Although effective, the lack of basic information on the location and timed appearance of pests results in the excessive application of chemicals, creating an unnecessary environmental burden and poor cost control.
PheroSyn’s role is to develop and supply novel insect pheromones.
Our specialist expertise leads us to synthesise species-specific pheromones that target the most prolific and damaging pests.
By attracting specific pest species such as midges, pheromone traps give a clear and reliable indication of extant infestations, PheroSyn’s approach allows the crop to be treated at exactly the right time and with the right pesticides. Wasteful and inefficient over-spraying is avoided.
Using cutting-edge science research and our advanced development facilities, we develop high quality pheromones for particular insect species.
This allows precise detection of harmful species as well as providing for highly targeted eradication strategies.
Agribusiness companies can access our unique pheromones in volume.
We continue to add new products in response to demand.
Products already in our pheromone range include:
Saddle Gall Midge
Pear Gall Midge
Pear Leaf Midge
Pea and Bean Weevil
Peas and Beans
Who are we?
PheroSyn is a spin-out from Rothamsted Research, the world-leading, non-profit research centre that focuses on strategic agricultural science to the benefit of farmers and society worldwide.
We benefit from being part of the SHAKE Climate Change programme, the consortium of leading scientific research and academic institutions formed to identify innovative solutions to tackle climate change linked to the agri-food sector.
Meet the team
PheroSyn supports the farming community as the basis of a sustainable and socially responsible sector.
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer
Dr Mary Ellis, MBA
Mary has 20+ years’ experience working with innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists in early-stage start-ups. She was a founding member of a technology commercialisation fund investing in health care start-ups, and is a board member for not-for-profit and for-profit organisations.
Co-founder and Director of Operations
Formerly a Synthetic Chemist at Rothamsted Research; Daniel is a specialist in chemical synthesis to produce and identify insect pheromones and has led the business development. Daniel is now responsible for leading the operational activities of the business.
Lead Development Chemist
Dr Stephen Mills
With over 30 years’ experience in chemical synthesis, Steve is responsible for the routes and synthesis of the insect pheromones and daily running of the chemistry laboratory.
Dr Rajendra Gosain
With degrees from Imperial and King’s College London, Rajendra has 26+ years’ experience both in academia and industrial settings in a number of med-chem roles including research and development and scale-up production. These have included roles in Pfizer, Sygnature Discovery and CatSci.
Finance and Legal Consultant
A Chartered Accountant with over 20 years’ experience as Chief Finance Officer in various leading technology businesses. Adrian is currently CFO for a number of VC backed companies.
Dr David Lawrence
Dr David Lawrence is a former Non-Executive Director at Syngenta, after retirement as the Head of Research & Development from 2002 to 2009, and a variety of previous scientific and management roles in ICI and Zeneca. Whilst at Syngenta he was a member of the investment panel for the joint venture fund established with Life Science Partners, and was then instrumental in the creation of Syngenta Ventures.
He graduated in Chemistry from Oxford University, where he was also awarded a D. Phil.
Past public-sector roles include: Chair of the KTN, Council Membership and Chair of the BBSRC Industrial Biotechnology Strategy Advisory Panel; Member and Interim Chair of the UKI2S advisory Committee; Deputy Chair of the Science Advisory Board of the Nottingham Synthetic Biology Centre; Directorship of Rothamsted Research; Membership of the Lead Expert Group for the “Global Future of Food and Farming” Foresight project, the AgriTech Food Council, the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Council and the Nuffield Council for Bioethics.
Currently he is Chair of Agrimetrics Ltd, an Independent Director of Tropic Biosciences and MoA Technology, a Trustee of the John Innes Foundation and a Member of the Ceres Investment Committee. In addition, he consults for and advises number of early stage start-up companies including CropBio, HuntBio and Norfolk Healthy Produce.
Co-founder and Board Member
Dr Michael Birkett, FRSC
Principal Chemical Ecologist at Rothamsted Research with over 27 years’ expertise in the characterisation, production and practical deployment of insect pheromones.
Dr John Caulfield, MRSC
Research Scientist at Rothamsted – Mass Spectrometrist, Chemical Ecologist. Over 12 years expertise in discovery / characterisation of insect / plant signalling molecules and deployment of IPM strategies.
Dr David Withall, MRSC
Research Scientist at Rothamsted Research –Synthetic Chemist/Chemical Biologist. More than 5 years’ expertise in the identification and total synthesis of insect pheromones.
Bianca Forte, MBA
A bioscientist by background with over 15 years of business development experience, Bianca has a special interest in open innovation and sustainability.
Dr Sonny Ramaswamy
President of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which accredits institutions in the Pacific Northwest. He served as President Barack Obama’s appointee as director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, following professorial and leadership roles at Oregon State, Purdue, Kansas State, and Mississippi State Universities. His academic research, funded by various United States federal agencies and the private and non-governmental sectors, was on physiological, behavioral, and chemical ecological insect-insect and insect-plant interactions.
T: +44 (0) 7539 695382