Non-refundable funds, in the amount of R$ 20 million, are available at the four new units of the Brazilian Company for Research and Industrial Innovation (Embrapii) for the development of new drugs and biopharmaceuticals by the pharmaceutical industry. The new units were selected in a recent public call, and the resources come from the Ministry of Health. They are the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo; the D’Or Institute for Research and Teaching (ID’Or); Center for Innovation in Pharmaceuticals of the University of São Paulo and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).
According to Embrapii, the accreditation of the new units should generate around R$ 60 million in innovation projects. By financing a third of the value of the projects with non-reimbursable resources, the company requires a financial contribution from the private sector and contributions from the research institutions involved in the projects.
The CEO of Embrapii, Jorge Guimarães, highlighted that the pharmaceutical sector is strategic for the health security and development of the country, in addition to being an importer of inputs, active pharmaceutical ingredients (IFAs) and other components. “From this, there is enormous potential to be explored, supported by our extraordinary biodiversity, which offers a competitive advantage in its sustainable exploitation. Certainly, we can combine the business knowledge accumulated in the pharmaceutical industry with the expertise and competence of researchers from Embrapii units and, thus, contribute to increasing the availability of national inputs and the production of new drugs and biopharmaceuticals developed in the country”, said Guimarães. He recalled that Embrapii’s mission is to encourage and finance technological innovation in the industry.
In addition to financial support, companies will have access to the infrastructure of research centers and technical support from researchers to overcome technological challenges. Projects may involve new drugs, from new molecules and active principles; therapeutic proteins; kits diagnoses; clinical and pre-clinical trials; production of blood products, among others.
The health area accumulates the largest number of projects contracted at Embrapii. There are 180, which add up to R$ 154 million in investments. Of the total, 99 have already been completed and generated 52 requests for registration of intellectual property. Projects in the biotechnology area account for 23% of the supported solutions, followed by systems integration, with 22%.
On the other hand, initiatives with artificial intelligence (AI) have brought countless benefits to patients, researchers, units and health professionals, assured Embrapii. Projects with AI account for 15.7% of the proposals in the company, in the health area. The institution also supported 62 actions to face the advance of the covid-19 pandemic in Brazil, allocating resources to the development of innovation projects, in partnership with the industry.
According to Jorge Guimarães, Embrapii’s emergency support allowed prevention and treatment technologies to reach the market in a timely manner. Examples were the delivery of 4,600 respirators to the Ministry of Health and the creation of the artificial lung.