MEXICO - The development of a number of techniques to improve shrimp larvae in their resistance and size, is something that for several years the specialists of the Center for Biological Research of the Northwest (CIBNOR) have been focused on.
The big winners were the domestic producers, although since a couple of years ago significant business opportunities have been achieved with fish farmers in Vietnam, where 80 per cent of shrimp farms in the world are located.
Technology transfer to the asian country consists in the provision of post-larvae of the species Litopenaeus vannamei or white shrimp, from production laboratories, which selection process is aimed at generating lineages resistant to certain diseases making them more cost-effective.
As a successful business model based on technology, the project in which CIBNOR is involved was selected by the Newton Fund and the Academy of British Engineering to participate in the Leaders in Innovation Fellowships 2015 program, which chooses technology and entrepreneurship transfer cases worldwide.
On behalf of the consortium created by the marketing company of the genetically improved shrimp, Blue Genetics Mexico and CIBNOR, engineer Alejandro Borges, took intensive training on commercialization of science in London, imparted by specialists of Isis Innovation, the technology transference office from the University of Oxford.
Of the 16 selected Mexican projects, the one presented by engineer Sánchez Borges won first place in The final pitch session. In this regard he explains that each of the cases was shown to a panel of investors, who evaluated all business opportunities and gave the highest rating to the CIBNOR project.
"The academic program in London is geared towards innovation and technology commercialization, and for two weeks we had very intense training in technical marketing, finances, studies of success and failure cases and preparation for pitchs sales. The aim is to create a success with the project that you carry, and after the presentation the three most viable business models are choosne. We were awarded with first place among the 16 projects who did the same exercise. "
In 2009, the Office of Technology Transfer at CIBNOR unveiled technology for improving shrimp, and the company Acuacultura Mahr showed interest in the project, after which the economic guidelines between the company and the Center were established for their Technological services.
The following year, the seed (larvae) of the highest quality shrimp was launched to the market and the business growed immediately. In 2011, Aquaculture Mahr is invited to France to present their breeding program and in December of that year, the french business group Grimaud conducted an audit program through the French Union of Breeders of Poultry and Aquaculture, and signed a Joint Venture agreement with Acuacultura Mahr.
In 2013, Aquaculture and Mahr Group Grimaud formally constitute the company Blue Genetics Mexico, which began formal operations in our country and Vietnam, with the intention of penetrating markets in China and other Asian countries.
"The project had already proved its business worth, it already had investors, established negotiations with the science part through the OTT at CIBNOR and what follows is to climb to find new stakeholders to expand operations to other latitudes. This is very mature technology," explains the engineer Sánchez.
On their participation in the Leaders in Innovation Fellowships program he specifies that it is an intense training, different from those carried out in Mexico, mainly due to the culture of innovation, with the starting point that this is the necessary set of technical, commercial and human skills to build a business case around a new technology.
"In addition, there was the opportunity to meet other Mexican leaders, exchange information, business experiences, and support. Interaction with them is invaluable," concludes the engineer Sánchez.
It is important to highlight that Vietnam is the world’s largest market of white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) and that during 2016 the industry will make available 95 thousand hectares of crop area and production of 400 thousand tons is estimated.
TheFishSite News Desk