Founder, CEO and President of Plantec Laboratories
Plantec provides analysis services of high complexity and quality control of chemical, physical-chemical, microbiological, ecotoxicological and nuclear magnetic resonance in the sectors of: Agrochemicals, Food, Environmental, Drugs, Sanitary Products, Cosmetics and Veterinary, in addition to research studies and agronomic efficacy. Recently, AgroPages interviewed Alexandre Santos, Founder, CEO and President of Plantec Laboratories, takling about the services Plantec could offer for its clients and his understanding on innovation.
Q: Could you please briefly summarise the global development of Plantec, especially in your core markets?
Plantec combines over two decades of tradition and experience in the analytical market, focusing on agrochemical products (technical and formulated), drugs (human and veterinary use), food, and environmental analyses. As a result of meeting its global commitments, the company has achieved sustainable growth, proudly holds a position of leadership, and is a reference in the field of research.
The strategy of the company is to be a One- Stop- Shop for its customers and partners from different markets — a place where they can contract all services related to the registration and quality assurance they need. Plantec offers a portfolio of analyses comprehending services, such as screening studies, 5 Batch Analysis, analysis of impurities according to local normative (INC02), chemical, physicochemical, microbiological, ecotoxicological and toxicological analyses, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) structural characterization, residue studies, and agronomic efficiency and feasibility studies, among others.
In order to reach its current position in its core market, the company has heavily invested in its own laboratories, using state-of-the-art equipment, hiring a highly qualified team of professionals (including Masters and PhD degree holders), acquiring three experimental farms, and leasing more than 150 locations in strategic regions of Brazil.
Plantec counts on a full range of studies, meeting the internationally recognised and accepted normative of OECD, EPA, ABNT NBR, Agriculture Ministry of Brazil (MAPA), Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA), IBAMA and Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), according to CGCRE—the Brazilian accreditation agency, and also of SENAVE in Paraguay and SENASA in Argentina, in addition to the local normative ABNT NBR ISO/IEC 17025, for assays of several fields.
Q: Could you please explain your major projects and the special advantage you have over your industry rivals? Besides project efficiency, a professional team, and a unique business model, what are your other core competencies?
Plantec provides services to hundreds of customers worldwide: Brazil, Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America – Our mission is to supply quality reports that are in compliance with GLP, presenting clear, well interpreted and discussed scientific data, and to be fully committed to meeting online submission deadlines, facilitating the access to these reports anytime and anywhere in the world.
Plantec provides services to companies focusing on the development of new products and of equivalent products. In order to provide 5 Batch Analysis services, the company relies on facilities fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, allowing a detailed and comprehensive investigation of active ingredients and their impurities.
In addition, Plantec offers services of isolation and purification of impurities, as well as services of accreditation of analytical standards.
Regarding formulated products, Plantec has the most complete scope in Brazil. The company offers services in the areas of toxicology and ecotoxicology—including all bioassays performed in bees, as well as testing formulations in the field, in one of the our three own experimental stations, or in one of the more than 150 leased real estate properties, with no need for services’ outsourcing.
And once the registration is obtained, Plantec is ready to continue providing support in quality control by performing content and relevant impurity analyses according to local INC02 normative.
Furthermore, in order to expedite the projects and facilitate the processes, Plantec supports, by means of outsourced partners, the importation and achievement of the RET (Special Temporary Registration), for a wide range of samples. And, as previously said, Plantec also provides services to customers in other market segments, performing environmental analyses in veterinary, sanitary, fertilising and biological products, and attending tests performed in GLP or ISO 17025.
Therefore, it is possible to conclude that Plantec presents the best conditions to assist and add value to the development of formulations, providing a full overview of your product in Brazil.
Q: Are there any difference between the Chinese and other international markets? What successful experiences and service concepts can be shared with our readers?
Every company that works with the development of equivalent products has to consider how to protect its active ingredients, especially relating to resistance, which most commonly happens in the submission phase of the dossier or even when the product is still protected by a patent.
Until the beginning of the year 2000, companies that had new molecules would launch single products. However, this scenario has changed. Nowadays, very few companies fail to think strategically whether it is to protect their products or to address counter-resistance. Companies are constantly trying to protect and improve their products and formulations. There is a wide range of components that are added to the formulations, known as the blends, which are very difficult to reproduce; however, their components can be detected by means of NMR.
In relation to companies manufacturing equivalent products, we believe that they must consider how to position their products in the market, in order to make them less susceptible to future resistance problems that may arise.
The execution of operations in a traditional manner, allowing farm workers to decide how to use a product, may put at risk a group of active ingredients, and years of work and investment. In order to contribute to a successful product, concepts need to be disseminated, pest, weed and disease management needs to be understood, and what happens or what can happen to genetically modified seeds needs to be assessed.
We highly recommend companies to innovate, to look for new positioning in the market and to stay clear of all that is traditional; this is a strategy that can cost far less than most companies are aware of.
Plantec has the know-how to implement each and every one of the actions proposed above and can help you to develop something new and perhaps even something unprecedented that uses marketed active ingredients.
A practical example of this would be a formulated product that contains a blend of A 100 g ia /L + B 200 g ia/L, which controls pests of species A, but controls and cures even better pest of the species B. If the concentrations were inverted (A 200 g ia /L + B 100 g ia/L), one would have a second product controlling species A more efficiently. That is, by having the same active ingredients and the same production line, it would be possible to produce two different products—one that displays greater preventive and curative action than the other or the other way around.
In this simple example the aspect of innovation is clear. However, there is a challenge: it is necessary to invest in the development of the product in the field, and that is exactly where Plantec comes in as a differential.
Our experience and work have created an opportunity for us to provide full or partial support in several cases of great success, both on a commercial level and on a strategic (counter-resistance) level.
Our key advice is to constantly innovate. And, if you have a great product and do not have another one for counter-resistance, we recommend you look for a partner to work with. Plantec has seen many partnerships thrive and we support such initiatives. Because at the end of the day, you will have the benefit of having a product with an extended life cycle in the market.
Q: How does Plantec support its strategic partners in promoting their business?
Plantec constantly seeks to offer its customers guaranteed quality and offers productive, effective and sustainable solutions. We provide objective product assessment and work side-by-side with our customers and partners by understanding their needs and challenges, explaining any possible risks that may arise and by offering customised solutions. The assessment of a process may take years of work, but costumers can rest assured that they can contact Plantec whenever they need information, hard data or technical support.
In addition, our customers know that they have a direct line with us and that, at any given moment, the best trained professionals are ready to solve efficiently and objectively any issue, and/or to discuss projects that will add value to your business.
When discussing new projects, Plantec will jointly reflect with the customer about the best strategy to adopt and the main challenges that will be faced. The company will make suggestions on future prospects in the sector of agrochemical products based on its acquired knowledge on product performance, resistance, new blends and molecules.
Q: What are the development plans of Plantec around the world and specifically in China for the coming years?
Plantec counts on many successful stories and is proud to say that it has absolutely no pending issues in the sector. So, the company believes that this track record speaks for itself and reflects the excellent terms of payment and the best cost-benefit conditions it offers in a deal.
Future plans of the company include ongoing investment in process improvement, in training the technical and commercial teams, expansion of scope and infrastructure, and also investment in processes to smooth the importation of samples and, therefore, guarantee greater operating efficiency in customers’ projects.
With that view, Plantec is planning to establish a commercial office in China, in order to strengthen ties with its customers there.
And, what is really important to know is that, in the globalised and connected world, Plantec is always present, despite its current geographical location, and it is how Plantec focuses on the customer that makes the real difference.
(Editing by Erwin Xue, project manager at AgroPages)