Venture-backed Eco-Science, in Worcester, Mass., has received a patent and is currently awaiting Environmental Protection Agency approval on the world's first natural cockroach pesticide. The four-year-old company develops and markets biopesticides, or "green" pest-control products that use naturally occurring microorganisms. The traps decompose safely after their mission is accomplished, avoiding the risks typically associated with synthetic chemical pesticides: contamination of soil, groundwater, food, pets, and the home environment. EcoScience expects to begin assaulting institutional, commercial, and residential infested areas via professional pest-control operators by the end of this month and hopes to conclude an agreement for an off-the-shelf retail product by year's end. An initial public offering earlier this year raised $30 million; CEO James A. Wylie expects to be profitable by 1995 by capturing in excess of 30% of the $570-million worldwide cockroach-control market, even though biopesticides currently represent less than 1% of total pesticide sales.

-- Alessandra Bianchi