Global Opportunities

Colombia: Biotech business opportunities

Colombia’s aim is to be recognized by 2032, as a leader in the development, production, marketing and export of high value-added products derived from the sustainable use of biodiversity. Swiss expertise and technology in biotech industry could help to reach this objective.

Biotechnology in Colombia

Colombia is one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world, where it grows 10% of the different known life forms in only 0.7% of the planet's surface, having more than 50,000 species (of which more than 70% are plants, algae and lichens) with great possibilities to be used in sectors such as biomedicine and biocosmetics.

The country has a great location in the tropics with a huge diversity of thermal floors, with heights above sea level ranging from   >24 C ° and <6 C °, which favor the existence of a large number of ecosystems (natural forests, savannah areas, arid zones, wetlands, snow peaks, among others). Moreover is the first worldwide in diversity of birds and orchids; second in flora, with more than 50,000 known plant species, 36% of them are endemic; amphibians, sweet-aquaculture fish and butterflies; third in reptiles and palms and fourth in mammals.

Government strengthens the biotech industry

The National Government has designed a policy to create the economic, technical, institutional and legal conditions that allow attracting public and private resources for the development of companies and commercial products based on sustainable use and the application of biotechnology.

As an opportunity for the strengthening biotech, the State has identified sectors that has been called world class, among which the Chocolate and confectionery, bovine meat, horticultural, aquaculture, milk, palm, oils, fats and their biofuels, as well as products for cosmetics and cleaning.

Colciencias,Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation, leads processes of identification of biotechnological megaprojects to produce, among others, biofuels and bioproducts for industrial use, which would have repercussions on the growth of industrial capital, research centers and social, economic and environmental benefits.

The implementation of modern biotechnology in the Colombian countryside will increase agricultural productivity and meet the demand for food required, ensuring the food and nutritional security of the population.(Almost 50 million)

Investments in science and technology

The growth of the Colombian population represents a greater demand for better quality food, which makes urgent investment in science and technology for the development of agriculture.

Between 2003 and 2015, Colombia saved 212.4 million liters of water with transgenic corn and cotton crops, reduced 8,300 tons of CO2, and 3.1 million liters of diesel in tractors and sprayers.

Therefore, taking as reference the wealth in resources of biodiversity, the offer of academic training, human talent through the research groups, it is a strength that must be capitalized in an articulated manner with international companies that can contribute their expertise.

Opportunities for Swiss SMEs

Colombia has business projects in biotech, which demonstrates its potential and capacity in the area. As this industry is broad and is in development in the country, there are plenty of opportunities for Swiss companies on different types of biotech.

  • Red biotechnology: Development of products for therapeutic application, animal health and diagnosis.
  • Green biotechnology: New agricultural products derived from biological resources.
  • White biotechnology: Enzymes for industrial, cosmetic and chemical uses.

Additionally, the country has incentives and instruments for the development of R&D:

  • Deduction on income tax, equivalent to 175% of the value invested in R&D (may not exceed 40% of liquid income).
  • Exemption from sales tax (VAT) on the importation of equipment and elements destined to research and technological development centers.
  • The resources received to finance scientific, technological or innovation projects do not directly constitute income for tax matters.
  • Co-financing of science, technology and innovation projects that benefit one or several companies and are executed in conjunction with development centers recognized by Colciencias*.
  • Support in the insertion of PhD's in companies. Colciencias *

* Calls subject to budget availability