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Apr 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 7)

Traditional Strengths Solidify Chilean Biotech Industry

South American Country Makes Name for Itself in Clinical Trials and Aquaculture

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    Centrovet has developed injectable, immersion, and oral vaccines for salmon, chicken, and swine.

    Chile relies upon public and private collaboration to incorporate biotech into its economy. “InnovaChile funds applied research under the National Innovation Council, which advises the President where to invest in R&D,” according to Gloria Maldonado, deputy director of InnovaChile and head of its biotechnology, energy, and environment division. Awards criteria are risk, innovation, economic potential, and the design of the collaborative effort. In 2008, InnovaChile’s $93 million budget funded 916 projects. “Some 55 percent of the total costs of projects are privately funded,” she says.

    CORFO’s main innovation incentives provide up to $6 million for process or product development, up to $600,000 for tech diffusion and transfer from abroad, up to $1 million for precompetitive innovation that serves the public interest or builds regional capacity, and up to $600,000 for seed capital, incubators, and a network of angel investors to foster entrepreneurship.

    Its high-technology investment program provides a wide range of assistance that includes investment incentives. That program, for example, will refund up to 60% of the pre-investment study costs, up to $30,000 for start-up activities, up to 50% of annual salaries for on-the-job training, up to 40% of the total investment in fixed assets, up to 40% of the total lease value for long-term property leases, up to 100% of the lease value for long terms leases of CORFO property, and up to 50% of the training for recruitment expenses.

    Benefits to doing business in Chile include strong protections for intellectual property and foreign institutions. For example, the new intellectual property laws allow for the patenting of genes and microorganisms. Chile also has the largest network of Free Trade Agreements in Latin America, which provide tariff benefits and other incentives to business deals.

    Some 57 nations have free-trade agreements with Chile, including the U.S., European Union, Canada, India, China, Japan, Central America, Mexico, and New Zealand, according to Nicolo Gligo, executive director, U.S. region, InvestChile. Notably, there are no joint venture requirements, and foreign companies may have wholly owned subsidiaries. 

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