Letter from the editor | 63

Good results in a short time

It is of the nature of scientific research to be cautious and strict in conducting all types of processes, from the choice of the theme to be worked upon to the release of the results. Normally, the path is long and not always is it possible to achieve the proposed objectives. For this reason, we can commemorate when a program rapidly bears fruit such as that of the Research Center, Innovation and Diffusion (Cepid), which has been going for less than a year. The Center of Applied Toxicology (CAT), of the Butantan Institute, one of ten Cepids certified by FAPESP, has a partnership with the pharmaceutical industry that should satisfy all of the participants. Led by Dr. Antonio Martins de Camargo, the Director of CAT, the researchers have isolated the active ingredient coming from the venom of the jararaca snake (Bothrops jararaca) that will be used in the production of an anti-hypertension drug, with the generic name Evasins.

The patent of the molecular prototype was registered with the National Institute of Industrial Ownership (Instituto Nacional de Propriedade Industrial – Inpi). The same thing is going to be done in the United States, the European Union and Japan. The patents requested in various countries are indispensable. Captopril, the anti-hypertension drug produced by Squibb, has an estimated annual turnover of US$ 5 billion throughout the world. Evasins will only be in the market within a few years, but will have at its side a consortium of laboratories that will help to take the project forward. The partnership with the industry attends to one of the main objectives of Cepid: to put together the activities of academic research with the business market. All should come out winning, since the money from the sales of the product will be divided by the inventors, the Butantan Institute, the private partners and FAPESP. The editor for Scientific and Technological Research of the magazine Pesquisa FAPESP, Claudia Izique, relates how all of the work was carried out starting on page 14.

Over the last few years FAPESP has been conceding scholarships at an explosive rate. The growth is, up to a certain point, natural because it indicates how strong the programs of post graduation and the system of research in general are within the State. It so happens that the unbalance between the concessions to research assistance and masters and doctorate scholarships is compromising the healthy development of the whole of the system. To bring things back into balance on this point, the Foundation has decided to establish a cap for the granting scholarships. This does not mean that the enormous investment in scholarships is going to diminish. FAPESP will only avoid that it increases so as to imperil the financing of the system as whole. Learn more of the details of the new rules on page 18.

The numbers are astonishing: in 1999, Brazil consumed 330,000 tones of PET (plastic) bottles and a year uses 8,000 tones of zinc (raw material for batteries) and 20 million rubber tires. On page 50Pesquisa FAPESP presents three projects with new technology that could be useful to the growing recycling industry in the country.

On page 64, the researcher Dr. Edmir Perrotti of the university of São Paulo, shows us how to turn the library into the center of pride of a school. The report is indispensable for those who wish to help to change the direction of education in Brazil.