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By Biocat

Joining forces with a local company or opening a subsidiary of the company are the best ways to access the Brazilian market, which has a highly protectionist fiscal system and imposes high taxes on imports and foreign companies. This is one of the main conclusions of the experts who participated in the workshop Fostering internationalization (I): Brazil, organized by Biocat on 17 April under the framework of the bioXclusters project, which aims to drive the internationalization of European SMEs in key markets like the United States, Brazil and China.

Eduardo Emrich Soares, president of Biominas, which manages the incubator in Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais (the second Brazilian state in terms of biotechnology companies with 30% of the total), and provides guidance in business development, funding and landing, opened the event. In his presentation he gave a detailed view of the overall state of the Brazilian biotechnology market, which is still underdeveloped and concentrated mainly in the states in the southeastern area of the country —specifically in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais— and in the south —above all in Rio Grande do Sul, although it is growing in Paranà and Santa Caterina, where ACC1Ó is organizing a trade mission this May.

Evolution of the Brazilian trade balance in health in 2010 (thousands of millions of dollars)

There are currently 270 life sciences companies in Brazil, 143 of which are strictly classified as biotechnology companies —while the state of Minas Gerais alone has the size of France— and this country has a clear trade deficit in terms of the import of biopharmaceutical products. According to data provided by Soares, 33% of all Brazilian biotech firms work in human health, while 31% are devoted to the agroeconomic sector.

67% of these companies are less than 10 years old and 53% are microcompanies with less than 10 workers. 66% of Brazilian biotechnology firms sell products developed internally and 62% are service providers, while only 18% market products developed by other companies and 8% develop products licensed to third parties. In recent years, the number of clinical trials carried out in Brazil has doubled. Although this number is still low (2,763 in 2010) it is growing and the country’s ethnic diversity is highly valued in this regard.

Additionally, Brazil has become one of the world’s leading suppliers of biofuels, and is expected to make up 50% of the global production of ethanol by 2030.
The growing middle class, which has gone from 34% of the population in 2005 to 53% in 2012, is a great opportunity due to the corresponding growth in demand for value-added services, including those in the biomedical market.

The second part of the event featured a roundtable with Trini Bofarull, head of American markets at ACC1Ó; Sergi Trilla, president and CEO of Trifermed; Clara Nascimento, head of the Latin American department of this company; and Eduardo Soares. The debate also featured pre-recorded contributions from Josep Maria Boades, director of the ACC1Ó office in São Paulo, who spoke about his experience in helping Catalan companies land in Brazil and highlighted the key role local partners play in this process.

Among the bioXclusters activities, Biocat will hold two additional sessions on internationalization with local experts, focusing on the market in the USA (July 2012) and in China (first quarter of 2013). Biocat is also organizing a trade mission to Brazil in September 2012. If you are interested in participating, contact Adela Farré (

More information is available in The Brazilian life science industry. Pathways to growth, published by Biominas and international consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

You can also follow on Twitter @bioXclusters


  • Overview of the biomedical market in Brazil, Eduardo Soares - Download (pdf)
  • What is Biominas and what does it do, Eduardo Soares - Download (pdf)
  • ACC1Ó: tools to support the internationalization of Catalan enterprise, Trini Bofarull - Download (pdf)

Related information:

See all the news on the bioXclusters project.



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