Business & Real Estate

Canadian biotech startup coming to Sacramento area

Ashish Malik, president and chief executive of Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc.
Ashish Malik, president and chief executive of Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. Bee Vectoring Technologies International

A tiny agricultural biotech startup from Canada plans to move its main operations to greater Sacramento, another boost for the region’s small but growing farm-tech sector.

Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc., which uses bees to apply its pesticides and other products to crops, announced Tuesday it will bring its “business headquarters” to the region, although it will retain operations in its hometown of Mississauga, Ontario.

The company’s arrival coincides with the appointment of a Davis biotech executive, Ashish Malik, as its president and chief executive. Malik was a vice president with Bayer CropScience in Davis and previously worked at AgraQuest, the Davis biotech company acquired by Bayer in 2012.

Aside from his residence, Malik said Bee Vectoring’s move to the Sacramento region makes good business sense.

“It’s the right place for the company,” he said in an interview. “This is becoming kind of an ag-tech innovation hub. … There’s a lot of access to human capital we need to grow the company.”

While Bee Vectoring will remain a Canadian entity, the Sacramento area will become home to its “business headquarters,” Malik said. “The business will be run out of the greater Sacramento area.”

Bee Vectoring won’t be much of a job generator, at least in the short run. Malik said he plans to lease a space in Davis or West Sacramento in the next few months, and expects to hire a half dozen employees over the next year. He said he thinks hiring will pick up in 2018, when the company expects to start generating revenue.

In 2015 the company, whose shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s “venture exchange” for small companies, reported a loss of $3 million and no operating revenue.

As its name suggests, the company’s products revolve around bees. It’s developing pesticides and fungicides that would be delivered to plants by commercially raised bumblebees.

Besides the Bayer subsidiary, the region is home to such farm-biotech companies as Marrone Bio Innovations and Arcadia Biosciences.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler