PPBio: one year of investments in groundbreaking solutions
Since its creation in March 2019, 10 investments representing R$ 9.3 million in support have been made
By Henrique Saunier
Translated by Felipe Sá
Photo: Disclosure/Valentina Ricardo
Idesam’s first year leading the Bio-Economy Priority Program (PPBio) has already resulted in many advances and positive results in supporting Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) projects in the Amazon. Even with some obstacles, the program has been structured to meet its mission of connecting the two major potentialities of the region: the Industrial Hub of Manaus (PIM, in Portuguese) and the Amazonian biodiversity.
Since its creation in March 2019, 10 investments representing R$ 9.3 million in support have been made, thanks to PIM companies that believed in the initiative, which offers fast and innovative ways for the industry to approach the Amazonian biotechnology. These results are also the outcome of an intense work carried out by Idesam on the approximation and simplification of the theme (investments in bio-economy) for industries.
In the initial stages of PPBio (before the pandemic of the new coronavirus), the program team registered more than 20 visits to companies, participation in 07 events, trips to introduce the program in other states of the Western Amazon, besides a Bio-Economy Business Connection with the participation of 20 project proponents and 5 potential investors.
Another great achievement of the program in its first year was the creation of the Database of Bio-Economy Projects, which added over 70 proposals interested in obtaining resources to advance its research. The proposals are not only aligned with the needs of the productive processes of the industries but also meet the demands of society, including solutions to fight COVID-19.
“Projects with high social and environmental features are identified with indicators for measuring positive impact. All these types of relationships between PIM and RD&I companies are a rather straightforward way to invest in RD&I in the region”, says Karol Barbosa, an analyst of the Bio-Economy Priority Program.
Most of the proposals enrolled in PPBio are focused on production processes and services related to the various sectors of the bio-economy, including also initiatives to prospect for active ingredients and new materials from the Amazon biodiversity. Businesses of social and environmental impact, synthetic biology, nanobiotechnology and bioinformatics are other segments that comprise the scope of the projects presented.
Investment in practice and next steps
The new coronavirus pandemic may have brought uncertainty and delayed the development of projects in the public and private sector, but it has also instigated the need to mobilize the innovation sector to find effective combat solutions and changes in legislation to facilitate access to these resources.
Even with some difficulties, PPBio got to support relevant projects of companies from the Amazon, such as Biozer, which has raised resources to develop a cosmetic line that uses açaí and copaíba as raw material, benefiting communities located in the interior of the state of Amazonas.
“With the diversification of investments from the priority program, there is a favorable ecosystem for the development of products and processes in this segment. In addition, the development of new economic alternatives in the region is essential, due to this inconstancy and attacks on the Zona Franca model (in reference to the PIM)”, highlights Danniel Pinheiro, from Biozer.
Since March 2020, PPBio has enabled the selection of initiatives by the supporting companies and the closing of partnerships to start the development of the projects. Among the projects with great potential for investment are solutions for diseases such as diabetes, projects focused on fish management, social inclusion technologies for family farming, forest management, cosmetics and new technologies for fighting fires. All projects attend the regulation of RD&I of CAPDA/Suframa.