Genetic Engineering News – Chilean Biotech & Natural Resources
Rereading Robert Yuan’s article from the May 15th issue of Genetic Engineering News on Chilean biotechnology companies.
It’s interesting that a number of the companies mentioned are using biotechnology to improve mining operations. Example, Biosigma has developed microorganisms to extract minerals for ores. According to the article, production costs of mining copper could be reduced by 50% by using Biosigma’s bioleaching approach which cleaves the bond between copper and sulfur.
Chilean biotechnology companies apparently have a hard time of it, because the country is geographically isolated (it is?), there is a limited venture capital network, there are few pension funds to tap into for invesment and exit possibilities are scarce. Despite this, Genzyme, Dupont, Monsanto and Pioneer all have significant investments in Chile.
Yuan concludes the article by pointing out that Asian countries could potentially serve as partners since they are rich and technology and capital but generally lack resources – something that Chile possesses in droves. In addition, Chile could represent a great entry point into emerging Latin American markets.