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Brazil's biotech firms: From imitators to innovators in health-related products
Date:6/6/2008

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Having now analyzed biotech industry trends in Brazil, India and China, MRC says some common patterns and differences are evident. (A fourth study in the series, for release later this year, focuses on South Africa).

"Although each country faces a different set of challenges we are seeing a clear trend," says study co-author and MRC researcher Sarah E. Frew. "Countries such as China and India are emerging as major global players in health biotechnology, with the expertise and resources to produce new drugs and vaccines at a fraction of the costs of the big pharmaceutical companies. There is little reason to think that Brazil cannot do the same provided it deals with a few key remaining challenges."

While biotech entrepreneurs in China, India and Brazil employ some of the same core business models and strategies, there are also significant differences stimulated by firms' attempts to adapt to local conditions.

One common feature among health biotech enterprises in all three countries is a heavy reliance on a hybrid business model, where revenues from early activities typically generics and modification of existing technologies as well as services are reinvested in innovative products.

One difference is that, while Indian firms are among the world's leading vaccine manufacturers and supply the country's national immunization program, in Brazil this activity is primarily the domain of public institutes.

Also, in addition to their large domestic markets, Indian and Chinese companies also have a greater focus on exports than their Brazilian counterparts.

Rahim Rezaie, a co-author of the Brazilian study, states that: "Brazil faces a dilemma how to reap the economic benefits of a robust private sector while finding affordable and sustainable solutions to local health needs. If the country can strike an effective balance between its public and private sectors, it could not only maximize health and
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Program on Life Sciences, Ethics and Policy,McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health
Source:Eurekalert

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