Biotechnology's Future in Chile and Norway

The Embassy of Chile in Norway, along with Chile’s Economic Development Agency (CORFO), the Norwegian Bioindustry Association, and Aquagen AS organized a conference on Biotechnology and Investment Opportunities in Chile on the 9th of December, 2011, at Næringslivets Hus, Oslo.

During the opening of the conference, Ambassador of Chile to Norway, Juan Anibal Barria talked about his country’s bright economic performance, the close cooperation with Norway and business opportunities in Chile.

Norway sees Latin America as an interesting region, with a future, with markets, sustained growth and an adequate framework for foreign investment.  In this context, Chile stands out for its stability, the seriousness of its public policy and for the ability of its professional labour force, said ambassador Barria. 

Barria also noted how Chile advanced its positions in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2012 ranking up to 39th place out of 183 countries, and took top position in Latin America thanks to its progress in areas such as the facilities offered for safely creating a company and the speed of formalities related to trading across borders.  

Specifically, Chile is moving fast to become a springboard for biotechnology companies who want to invest in Latin America. One of the goals of this Embassy is to promote Norwegian investment in Chile.  And I emphasize “Norwegian investment”, because we see it beneficial for us not only because of Norway’s financial resources, but also chance to transfer the country's culture of dialogue, said Barria.

A Better Future for Norwegian Bioindustry

Norwegian Bioindustry Association Director, Thor Amlie, on the other hand, presented development of the biotechnology industry in Norway. Amlie stated that Norway had historically been behind other Scandinavian countries in biotechnology, but the picture has started to change significantly thanks to rapid increase in the number of products developed in collaboration with industry and academia recent years.

Supporting this change, There were far more clinical trials per capita in Norway than in Sweden in 2010. 14.9 trials per mill inhabitants in Norway compared to 7.9 in Sweden. Also, in Norway each company reporting trials has an average of 5.5 studies compared to 1.9 studies in Sweden, noted Amlie.

He also suggested Norway’s future economic growth and international competitiveness depend on the capacity to continue to innovate and commercialize innovation

There is an untapped potential related to translating the ideas, technologies, and capabilities coming out of Norwegian biopharma research into more commercial value creation. In short, Norway has a strong research platform that is not being fully commercialized. This presents an opportunity, concluded Amlie. 

Afterward, CEO of AQUAGEN and honorary consul of Chile in Trondheim, Odd Magen Rødseth shared his experiences about doing business in Chile.

In the last section of the conference, Managing Director of Sea Food Forum (NASF), Jørgen Lund and Director of Marelife at Oslo Teknopol,  Øystein Lie conferred about the upcoming NASF, which is the world’s biggest summit of its kind that will take place in Oslo between 6 and 8 March 2012.

About Chilean Biotechnology

The country has attracted several major R+D initiatives of big agricultural companies such as Pioneer, Monsanto and Syngenta. In the area of health, meanwhile, Medivation opened its first laboratory outside the United States in Santiago in 2007, while Synthon chose Chile for their new production facilities.

Here are some interesting figures about Chile:

In the last three years, foreign investment in the biotech industry reached US $170 million.

The country has about 1,200 researchers, an increase of 60% over the last ten years.

It has more than 30 clinical research organizations and 300 testing sites.

There are nearly 200 companies in the local biotech industry.

How A Foreign Drugstore Differs From A Local Pharmacy

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