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Fernando Reinach: An announced revolution

MIGUEL BOYAYANAt forty seven years of age Fernando Reinach is a rare person – at least for now – both in the scientific environment and in the Brazilian entrepreneurial scenario. A respected researcher in molecular biology, during 1997 one of the mentors, and shortly afterwards one of the coordinators, of the first Brazilian Genome project, that of  Xylella fastidiosa, which contributed decisively to change the standards of national research, Reinach is also today a very successful executive in the business world. He is the Executive Director of Votorantim Ventures, the risk capital fund of the largest national private business group, destined to develop technology based companies, and the Executive-Vice President of Alellyx Applied Genomics, the first of these companies that the fund helped to be born.

Focused on the biochemistry of muscles for his doctorate thesis at Cornell, in the United States, and afterwards in his post-doctorate work at Cambridge, UK, Reinach returned to Brazil in 1986, with a strong sense of autonomy, enough to take the professor’s examination for the Biochemical Department of the University of São Paulo (USP) without, shall we say, asking for permission or the blessings of any of the great masters in the area.

He entered, advanced and rapidly attained the top of his career, or that is to say, became a full professor at the age of thirty five – a post from which he is presently on leave of absence. At the same time, he had returned contaminated by the entrepreneurial spirit that pushed forward the development of biotechnology in the United States and for this reason started Genomics, the first Brazilian company to carry out paternity tests which began functioning in 2003. At the beginning of 2004, Reinach was chosen by the magazine Scientific American (American edition) as one of the fifty Business Leaders of 2003, alongside, for example, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, among other outstanding entrepreneurs throughout the world – without a doubt a top class distinction.

Therefore, one can see that Fernando Reinach is an exemplary synthesis character, a type of concrete metaphor of a contemporary economics fundamental process, lato sensu, which runs from scientific discovery, made easier by an intensive professionalism of the Researcher’s métier, to the production of wealth via the appropriation and transformation of knowledge, or that is to say, technological innovation in products and services through companies. With this background, he has a privileged vision of the process of change that is occurring in the country, its good points and major obstacles, which he clearly mentions in the following interview:

Can one consider the genome sequencing project of  Xylella fastidiosa, from 1998 until 2000, as the watershed for a new form of producing science in the country?
I think so. But before the  Xylella something along these lines had already taken place. Research in Brazil has had various phases. The first, up until the decade of the 1970s, was that of the “Colonels” shall we say, the chaired professors. The scientific community was small, but major researchers existed. This picture evolved into another situation, more professional, which coincided with the professionalization of FAPESP itself, not only of the personnel involved but of the very process of funding.

Any person with the correct credentials could approach the Foundation and request assistance. It was during this period that I began to work at the Foundation, in 1994, with Perez (José Fernando Perez, the Scientific Director). And it was during this phase that an interesting movement promoted by Rogério Meneghini and Hugo Armelim occurred, whose maxim was the following: whoever carries out research has to publish it. It became unacceptable not to publish. The next step was to publish in qualified magazines, in order to produce an impact. This was a cultural change that occurred firstly in Sao Paulo and only later in the rest of the country. And this, I believe, is now happening at the CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development).

What you are saying is that a clear understanding took place that for researchers, as well as simply researching, the results of their investigations must be projected to the world outside?
I believe that this idea had already existed. Among traditional professors, the publication of articles was valued, but if one was not to publish that was all right too. This process of change – professionalization and formalizing of the support that stimulated publication – began to open up space for young researchers to carry out what they themselves wanted, independent from the professor.

His blessing was no longer necessary in order to present a project to FAPESP. A very rigid hierarchal system began to break down. The research institutes began to hire researchers because they were competent and the result was a greater diversity of themes and more freedom of research. Thus, a group of relatively young people, independent from their older colleagues, a type of middle class in science, came about. I am of that generation. I was hired in Biochemistry and was not an beholding to anyone.

I had not written my doctorate thesis therein, nobody knew me here. Therefore there was a type of modernization of science and the creation of an independent generation. Then, while working at FAPESP as a biochemistry coordinator, I realized that a critical mass of people existed who were beginning to get involved with molecular biology and that they were not necessarily aligned to a well known professor. And this was central for the success of the methodology implanted with  Xylella, which did not need the blessing of well known full professors.

At this point, had the well know full professors distanced themselves from the new questions that molecular biology placed on the table?
We had had classic genetics and from it came molecular biology. The change was so rapid that one part of the old researchers did not follow it. They didn’t understand the new technology that the young researchers understood very well. But there is also another phenomenon that occurred in biology globally, and which had previously occurred with physics years before, which contributed to the conception of the  Xylella project. Until the Second World War physics had advanced by way of major individual contributions. That was until large projects such as the atomic bomb or for example huge particle accelerators, began to take place and the problems became of such magnitude that one person alone could not cope. There then began to be born this concept that certain problems were just too big for one person alone. In spite of the existence of excellent science having been done by an individual, science carried out by large teams became fashionable. In biology this took a lot more time. Perhaps it had its real beginning with the genome projects.

But in São Paulo, had not large thematic projects that brought together groups of researchers already been in existence since 1990?
That was different. Scientific cooperation had always existed. Thematic projects were this: each one did a part and thus it was possible to go further. But, if there had not been the cooperation, it would still have been possible to carry it out on one’s own. There was not the absolute necessity of doing it together, as was the case with  Xylella . Parallel to the need to attack problems through group work with many people, without which nothing would work, FAPESP also lived through the process of machines becoming more sophisticated and more expensive. No longer could each one have his own, it was necessary to have collective equipment, as had happened long before with physics and particle accelerators.

It was at this moment that the first genome projects began to come forward and we could verify that our molecular biology had been lagging behind. Perez then suggested: what we need is a major program to push molecular biology to the forefront. I had the very correct sensation that we had attained critical mass, the genome projects abroad have taken place in a collaborative manner. “Listen, in order to give a quantum leap in quality to our molecular biology, why not set up one of them?”, we questioned. As well, there were a series of favorable factors for the  Xylella project that had happened right below our very nose and that we managed to see. Thus, when we proposed the genome project, it was revolutionary. It met with a large amount of resistance from the old brigade, but they no longer had power over their younger colleagues.

What was the argument from those who resisted?
They said that this was work for monkeys, and it wasn’t even science. They affirmed that it was more important that each laboratory have more money to spend than that they work in collaboration. It was in reality resistance to change. And we only managed to carry out the project because the young researchers who had managed to come into the system were no longer under the control of the older people. When we published the tender for the selection of the laboratories, it was these young people who said “I do”. When the old brigade said “we won’t come in”, this was very symptomatic of what had been occurring.

Did you have the expectation that the older researchers would join in?
I had a bet with Perez, though the details I don’t remember well, but which forecast the number of proposals that would be presented. Our fear was that nobody would sign up for the project. I said that there would be up to fifty laboratories and he that there would be more than fifty – Perez won. It is gratifying to see that, all of a sudden, there was a generation that carried out one of Brazil’s most important research projects without unanimous consent. And they took a leap forward. In general in science, the old guard are going to die off, and the new one is going to take over, thus the generation from below comes forward etc. But not in this case: a new generation took over and jumped up front. This aspect was revolutionary. Let’s see, I was forty one and probably the oldest. Andrew Simpson, the project’s DNA coordinator, Paulo Arruda and myself were the oldest. The majority were between 25 and 30 years of age. In the old Brazilian scientific scheme they wouldn’t have had any space.

How did you establish the project and afterwards the organism that you were going to sequence?
After we had observed the levels of penetration of national science, we verified that the percentage of Brazilian scientific papers had been increasing in all areas, less in molecular biology that had been evolving more slowly. Not so much because it was growing so slowly in Brazil, but because it had been growing very rapidly abroad. At that point, Perez said that we needed to do something. First there was the idea of carrying out an infrastructure project, purchasing equipment etc. At that moment. the first paper by Craig Venture concerning the genome had been published. On the 1st of May weekend in 1997, I had been at my country house in Piracaia, and thought: OK, instead of having an infrastructure project, let’s do a genome project, bringing together everyone within a single objective. Instead of giving equipment to everyone, let’s set up a project built upon a theme. For me this was a very strange idea. I phoned Perez, who was in Santos, and he came up to my country house. We talked and the idea crystallized.

Why did the idea appear to you so strange?
In Brazil a polemic situation has always existed – and still exists today – between spontaneous science and induced science. When a government talks about funding a determined theme, in general the science produced starting from that position is not so good. This occurs when someone who is not a scientist decides what the scientist has to research. The opposite to this is when one says: you do what you like and we’ll provide the money. An important example of induced science: After President Kennedy had put a man on the moon, Nixon decided to cure cancer. This is something rather despotic of administrators. In Brazil the federal government has always tended to carry out induced science. I was always against this. Experience had shown that this never turned out well. And the idea that I had just had was exactly of this type. I felt personal resistance towards my very own idea. Perez, nevertheless, considered it differently: “We’re not saying which genome it will be”, he argues. “This will come fromthepeople themselves.” But we had to confront various problems: such as choosing the genome, organizing the project etc. etc.

At the moment when Professor Perez went to your house in Piracaia, you didn’t have a clear idea about what the organism to sequence would be?
No. We knew that it was going to be a bacterium. The genome had to be sufficiently large enough to involve a good number of people and small enough for us to be able to do it with the technology that we had. It had to represent a major challenge, but one which was not impractical. At that time I had been working three months per year in the United States, and it was there that I wrote up the first project document at the request of Perez. I had worked in England with Bob Watterston and John Sulston, who were involved in the human genome. I spoke with both of them before making out the document and they believed that it would be possible to do it.

At this moment there was still no clear idea as to which bacterium would be sequenced?
And more, we didn’t have a notion about the bacterium. In the first document there already was the idea that the project would be decentralized, developed at different laboratories, each one sequencing a piece, somewhat in the system of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae. As well it had also been decided that the strategy would be to work with cosmids and that the microorganism would be from the agricultural area. A few years previously there had been a discussion at the Brazilian Biochemical Society about the future of biochemistry and there is was stated that the way forward was agriculture, since there was no way that we could compete in the area of cancer. While this was happening, people at Fundecitrus (the Foundation for the Defense of Citrus Farming) had approached FAPESP with their concern over the Xylella. Nobody even knew if Xylella fastidiosa was really the cause of CVC (Citrus Variegated Chlorosis) or not. In September, Joseph Bové, from Bordeaux II University, confirmed that it really was the pathogen of CVC.

And was there still a doubt as to whether the project’s bioinformatics would be done here?
For me this was very clear. I had returned to Brazil in 1986 and shortly afterwards João Meidanis and João Setúbal had also returned from the United States. They came to my laboratory, still at the Chemistry Institute, and said that they needed to do something together. At that time, myself, Sueli Gomes, from the Chemistry Institute of USP, and Francisco Gorgônio Nóbrega at Univap (the University of the Paraíba Valley), were the only people who had sequenced DNA in Brazil. I said that I needed a DNA reader, and they made a reader from x-ray film, where the DNA sequencing was done. The machine was called the “The Thing”.

It was the keyboard of a telephone with a plastic devise that allowed the film to be viewed. And then it went on to press the keys and the device would register A, C, T or G (the letters relating to adenine, cytosine, thymine and guanine, the bases of the genetic coding). The device had a cable that linked it to a computer. Now you can imagine, before this piece of device we manually read the film and would go calling A, C etc. and a student would do the marking. This was only ten years ago. When the need for bioinformatics for the genome project came up, I knew that competence existed here.

Afterwards we brought in Paulo Arruda, who brought with him André Gouffeau (the French scientist who had coordinated the sequencing of the Saccharomyces), when we thought that it would be necessary to have a steering committee from abroad. In the end, we were dealing with a band of young people and there was the need to have some, people with experience, who would intermingle between the researchers and FAPESP. On the steering committee we had an experienced researcher in bioinformatics, who was Gouffeau, and two Englishmen, Steve Oliver, also a coordinator of Saccharomyces and John Sgouros.

Oliver came to Brazil, had a meeting at FAPESP and we worked out the details: we needed to have two central laboratories, one bioinformatics and a general coordinator. At this stage Simpson had already began to get involved in the project. Perez had also observed that the project would involve a mountain of money, and defended the same idea as Oliver, with the addition that the two laboratories would need to sequence a lot. So we thought: let’s define the positions and people can apply, nobody is going to be pre-chosen. And the tender came out this way: one opening for a coordinator, two openings for sequencers, one group for bioinformatics and thirty laboratories. We believed that the coordinator should not be someone linked to FAPESP, because of this problem of the project being induced. On the other hand, I wanted to be a sequencer, because it was probable that my laboratory would be one of those that knew most about how to sequence and it was this area that could well have given us the most problems. Simpson decided to take on the coordination.

In truth he was the DNA coordinator, and had to guarantee clones. As there were two central laboratories for sequencing – mine and that of Paulo Arruda – and the bioinformatics laboratory, there were in truth four general coordinators for the project. We carried out the selection process and then called in the steering committee to make the selection. There was still a certain amount of resistance: “Goodness, but they don’t have a research project. I’m only going to be a candidate to sequence a piece of DNA”. The criticisms had already begun. Thus it was decided: of the thirty laboratories, ten would have to be run by people who knew a little bit about sequencing. A further ten with researchers coming from agriculture, who knew nothing about sequencing, but had an idea about this bacterium, the Xylella. And ten had to be made up of people who were not in agriculture, who knew nothing about sequencing, but were scientifically competent and who wanted to learn. The profile, for example, of José Eduardo Krieger.

At this moment, at the beginning of 1998, were you all ready to begin the work?
Yes. There were various amusing things. At that time they had still not closed down the Koch postulation concerning Xylella (which demonstrates the cause of an disease). Or better, it had not been closed for isolated Brazilians samples. Joseph Bové had taken the samples to France and closed the Koch postulate there. So the doubt remained: were we going to sequence something recently collected in Brazil, but which nobody had proven that it was that bacterium that had closed out the postulate, or were we going to get a bacterium imported from France – a national disgrace! – but in which the postulate was closed? We decided to do it with the French one. My fear was that people had mixed the bacteria and we would end up with the wrong bacterium. At the same time that we began the sequencing, we started to redo the postulate in order to be sure that it was OK. Goffeau arranged people to teach us to make cosmid and our people went abroad to learn.

Does this technology continue to be used? Do you make use of these procedures at Alellyx?
The Xylella was done using cosmid. But today we generally make use of the shot-gun technique. The first project that made use of the shot-gun technique was the Xanthomonas project, which began in 1999. Well, the two laboratories, mine and that of Paulo Arruda, had sequenced considerably and lots of interesting things happened. Paulo Arruda assumed the role of educator: he organized the courses, brought the people from the laboratories to teach them how to sequence.

As my laboratory was different, we decided that we were going to get people from abroad and bring to Brazil the most advanced technology. And Meidanis was the only person who said “I’m going to visit all the laboratories”. It’s very interesting to note that things happen because of the determination of people. Another funny moment was the arrival of the sequencing machines on Christmas day or New Year’s Eve, I don’t remember well. The people abroad wanted to wait to load them later and I said “you can load them as we’ll be working here”. We were running against time. We were a band of youngsters who had already shown a certain irreverence by going over the heads of the establishment, and we needed to show that we were competent. Thus there was a lot of pressure to get it done, and the older people only sat around, looking to see these fools slip up.

Has this new way of carrying out science influenced other areas or is it restricted to genomics?
When we managed to have our results published in Nature, it had a lot of influence on the self-esteem of people in any branch of science.

Did the degree of ambition of Brazilian research change levels starting from the Xylella ?
It changed. We were no longer eating crumbs from the outside of the table. We had jumped right into the meal. We carried out the Xylella project and shortly after we sequenced the two Xanthomonas . They were two bacteria, each double the size of Xylella, and were done with a quarter of the personnel, a quarter of the budget and half the time.

And shortly afterwards the sugarcane project was launched?
But the Xanthomonas project was the last specifically genome project. I always criticized the fact that we called it the genome project, since it is not exactly a genome project, that is, the sugarcane, bovine etc. projects.

Please, can you explain this distinction from the scientific point of view?
You carry out a genome project when you sequence the total DNA of an organism, all of its genes. The others are projects on the sequencing of the messenger RNA, only the expressive part of the genome. Consequently it’s not really a genome project.

But isn’t everything under the umbrella of genomics?
Of genomics, yes. But they are not genome projects. Abroad this name is never used. They are EST (Expressed Sequence Tags) projects. That is not to say that they are better or worse, just that they are different. The first to carry the name and which was not about a genome was the cancer project, a type of madness, as cancer doesn’t have a genome, who has the genome is the human being.

The sugarcane and the eucalyptus projects are EST projects. Fair enough, they were very large and it wouldn’t have been possible to map the complete genome. But I believe that, when it was decided to do them, there was a slight loss of the impetus that there had been at the start, as the challenges became lesser. In spite of being difficult projects, they weren’t at the maximum difficulty of the Xylella – probably easier because then we know how to tackle them. We have been repeating a little bit, which makes criticizing much easier. But then came other large and important projects such as the Biota.

What has been the legacy of the genome project for science?
Standards rose. The idea that science is a field for cooperation became more acceptable. And shortly afterwards another challenge came along: a week before we published the project, I wrote an article for the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper which was entitled Unprepared for Success, in which I laid out what would be the next step. The circle had to be closed: in the same manner that the human genome is transforming the American pharmaceutical industry, we, who sequenced the Xylella, have to resolve the Xylella problem, transforming science into wealth. For me this was the challenge: the next step was outside of the academic world, whilst inside the academic world one needs to remain daring. It was there that we lost the rhythm, the impetus, and we began to receive criticism.

Doesn’t research into the proteome represent the next step in the academic world?
Genome projects are absolutely measurable. The final product is finite, measurable and known. EST projects do not have this: the time comes when one have to stop. The great thing about the Xylella project was: either you finished or you didn’t finish. And its completely obvious. Other projects – proteomes, crystallography –, if you were to ask what is the absolute end point, unquestionably, for the end of the project, there would be no answer. This is more or less classical research, there is no exact answer, in that we are trying to understand how the world works. And this is natural, it’s the process of science.

We had to carry out projects on the genome of the sugarcane and the eucalyptus and the only way of doing it was with EST projects. We could well have opted to carry out a genome that was a little larger. After all, large cooperation projects work well when the objective is very clear. Everybody who enters knows: you get there to the point or you don’t get there. An analogy that I make is the following: there is a gap between two rocks, I come running and jump. Either I reach the other side or I fall into the hole. There is no middle ground. Normally science is not like this, one goes ahead little by little, publishing a paper, publishing another, and it never ends. The times when there are scientific projects in the world in which the final objective is very clear are rare.

Today, what is your vision for Brazilian molecular biology research, and research in general?
I’m not so close to what people are doing today, but I believe that it returned to being classical. I believe that in Brazil one of these projects with absolutely clear objectives is lacking. But I don’t even know if having one of these projects for molecular biology at the moment would be suitable, this is not the normal way of operating science, and not always does one find projects like these. And this is no criticism, knowledge has distinct phases.

But in the country are there major cooperation projects ongoing? For example, in the health area, such as hypertension?
Cooperation exists, yes, but, for example, in the previously mentioned manner of thematic projects. And it’s not possible in these cases to assert the objective and say, OK let’s all do this.

These objectives can appear spontaneously or are they always induced?
Well look at the case of Xylella. I believe it’s difficult to say thatone was dealing with a totally induced project, because it was proposed by the scientific community. It so happens that in FAPESP the scientific community is within, different from what happens at the CNPq. Thus, FAPESP captured the voices of the community and catalyzed the process. The research was directed in the sense that it had an organ that said “let’s do it”, but equally it was not because it was not born outside of the scientific community.

Let’s move on a little into the private sector. It would appear to us that one of the changes in the Brazilian standard of producing science was that it increased, after the second half of the 1990’s, the possibility of research in businest. Is this correct?
There are various reasons for this. During the dictatorship the university was the center of resistance and wanted to distance itself from the private sector. In the manner in which democratization returned, this began to change. Another point is that the perception that one has of science is changing. Everyone talks about it creating wealth and in the United States, for example, this is true. Scientific development that generates new technologies, generates new companies, generates taxes, jobs and wealth for a country and this wealth return to the university. This is the virtuous cycle of investment in S&T.

In Brazil this cycle is beginning to close. It had not closed due to a number of things. At the start it didn’t have the scientists. Until the decade of the 70’s there wasn’t critical mass. Afterwards it began to gain critical mass, but the scientists didn’t want to know about the private sector. When democracy returned, there was critical mass, but there was a reserved market, and there was no demand from companies. Brazil was closed. Then the country was opened up. Now we have critical mass and things are beginning to flow. In order to close the cycle we need capital, which has begun to appear over the last five or six years.

Did the Xylella project, as well as its significance for molecular biology, signal a moment of change for other sectors of society?
The private sector doesn’t know what’s happening at the universities. The Xylella project, as it had international projection, signaled that Brazilian scientists had competence. There were lots of things happening but they were not obvious. At the time when they came out in Nature, in The Economist, the first plant genome, then is was confirmed that the science business was working. It has to be visible and call the attention. This was not the first evidence that science was competent. Indeed, it was exactly because science was competent that the Xylella project came about. For the private sector this meant that it was possible to invest in the university and that this could be used to develop technology for companies.

But when the result of the Xylella project came out, here in Sao Paulo innovation technology programs such as PITE and PIPE had already been in existence since 1995…
Clearly in the academic world there had been the recognition of the need for integration with the private sector. But how often did the Federation of Industries of São Paulo (Fiesp) or the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) come to FAPESP to say: we need science from you? This didn’t exist and still doesn’t directly exist. The demand has to come from the private sector. And this will only happen when our national private sector looks at the university in the same manner that the American private sector looks at the American universities.

And this is beginning to happen or not?
It’s beginning. It’s not a sufficiently strong movement to result in a turnaround. The problem is the following: How much risk is the private sector willing to take? If I live in Switzerland, a peaceful country, and jump using a parachute, I’m doing something that is super dangerous. I have a life with low risk and my real risk is practicing a extreme sport. But, if I live in Brazil, to leave your house in the morning and not getting assaulted or knocked down is already a risk. Why should I run the risk of parachute jumping as well?

The problem with our national industry is the same thing. Brazil doesn’t have political stability, doesn’t have a regulations system and has instability of so many natures that the company, which is already taking a number of risks, fears taking on the risk of developing new technologies. It’s too risky. Businesspersons – unless they receive lots of pressure – prefer not to invest. When one says that the Brazilian entrepreneur does not want to run risks, this is not fair. Perhaps he’ll not run the risk that we, the scientists, would like him to run, which is to invest in new technology.

Doesn’t the fact that you’re linked to the largest Brazilian private group and are President of a technology based company, not run opposite to what you’ve just been saying?
This process is in its infancy and it’s natural that it should begin in a group that can afford the luxury of running risks. In the United States, groups that are a lot less solid run this technology risk. However, you’re not going to see national groups developing new drugs because of the risks involved. In a country in which the risk environment is low, in order to progress one needs to run a risk, for example in developing a new medicine Here in Brazil, the same business has other risks – the government could freeze the price of medicines etc. Consequently the entrepreneur thinks: I’m going to and I’ll lobby for not freezing prices. Concern with innovation is secondary.

Within these risks that in the Brazilian environment appear to be greater, where does the question of patents fit in?
For example, plant molecular biology leads automatically to genetically modified agriculture. Let’s consider three companies that want to develop transgenic plants: one in Europe, one in the United States and the third on Brazil. Europe doesn’t accept transgenics, the rules are known and everyone knows that you can’t. In the United States the rules are known and the production and commercialization of transgenics is allowed. In Brazil, one doesn’t know if one can or one cannot. The regulation is not defined, everything is stopped in the justice system, the bill for bio-security is with the government and nobody knows if it will be approved.

But this has nothing to do with technological development, but more with the economic environment?
But these are the things that determine scientific development. The country’s Judicial System is difficult, the patents system doesn’t work. One doesn’t know if the Judiciary System will approve one’s patent. In Brazil, everything takes a long, long time. The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) doesn’t work correctly and the Judicial System doesn’t work directly…

But doesn’t the Patents Law in Brazil exist? Is this law not regulated?
One thing is to have a law legally approved, another is to comply with that law in practice. Look at the case of Monsanto with transgenic soya in Argentina, which has a patents law. The farmer plants the soya and doesn’t pay the due royalties. The company goes to court to fine the offender. The court doesn’t apply a fine, and the other doesn’t pay. One thing is to have a law, another is to discharge it. It’s the same thing as buying a ranch in the Pontal do Paranapanema. The land is cheap but it’s risky: the landless group could well invade. You don’t just need a law but you have to have the apparatus in place that guarantees that it will be discharged.

What are your bets on the development of biotechnology within the entrepreneurial field?
The ideal is to bet on things that, if it’s not possible to sell here in Brazil, you can sell abroad, as in the case of human and agricultural biotechnology. When one has something that is on the scientific frontier, well in front, the market is global.

But what you people are doing here today is it not more feasible for the national market?
It’s feasible for any market. A good example is Embraer’s technology that is global. If the Brazilian assembly plant were to be closed, the plane could be produced in Venezuela. People tend to invest in things that minimize the risk of the country where they are. If Embraer were to be manufacturing a plane that could only be made here in Brazil, that would be very risky.

But when one researches the agent for causing sudden plant death, you’re thinking on a Brazilian problem?…
This is really one of Alellyx’s problems.