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  • Writer's picturePhilip

Playing the long game.

It takes between 10 and 15 years to discover and develop a new active ingredient suitable for agricultural use AND bring it to the market.  Completion of the necessary and rigorous field and lab-based tests takes that long.  There is generally a 20 year patent life on such materials.


Testing ensures the ingredient is effective in use and safe for humans as well as the broader ecosystem whilst providing evidence to secure regulatory approvals.


Adding to the degree of difficulty for regulatory approval is that crop protection regulations vary greatly from country to country and continually change.  Test carried out in year one are often not those required by regulatory bodies just prior to regulation for end use. 


For these reasons it can cost $150 to $250 million to develop a new active ingredient. 


To become a contender for the world market company scientists refer to such projects as belonging to membership of the ″billion-dollar club.″

Such active ingredients must be vastly superior to existing alternatives in terms of efficacy, cost and environmental sustainability profile.


A single active must work on a broad range of crops, in a variety of climatic conditions and against pests and diseases that plague multiple regions around the world.  All the time bearing in mind it is impossible to achieve blockbuster-level sales without satisfying increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, which vary greatly from country to country.


Innovation in and for agriculture is a long game.



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