Page 4: Development
Development involves turning research into useful products.
For a chemical to progress from the research phase into development it must meet specified criteria. Most importantly, will the resulting product meet customer requirements?
Other criteria might include: can the product be manufactured in large quantities and profitably? How long is the product life cycle expected to be? The answers to this type of question form a product brief which outlines what is required of the new product. A specification follows which details the features, benefits and costs of the venture.
One product that made it through all the stages of research is Amistar. This has now become the world's leading fungicide which has been developed to destroy the growth of harmful fungi on plants.
Gallant is Syngenta's newest high-performing wheat variety. It has excellent bread-making qualities. The brief for the new product was to breed an improved winter wheat variety to give higher yields and superior grain quality to make it suitable for milling. A specification was created which set out the features the new wheat needed to have (for example protein content, quality, consistency, disease resistance, practical to grow), as well as the benefits and financial costs of development.
Syngenta scientists used different breeding combinations to find the best product. Gallant was tested in field trials by Syngenta and, following registration and protection, was also trialled by independent organisations who have officially recommended it to farmers and end users.
New products also need to meet strict EU and US standards in order to be sold across the world. Syngenta carries out testing at various points of the development cycle. It needs to assess whether a new chemical compound:
- has the best formulation
- works effectively in real situations, not just in the laboratory
- has no adverse effects on humans or the environment.
Once a product is on the market, Syngenta still has a role to play in product stewardship. This means it carries out ongoing assessment of whether the product remains effective and environmentally-friendly in use for both humans and the land.
For example, with Amistar it was necessary to first research the impact that the fungicide had on local environments in which the product was originally trialled. Around 40% of Syngenta's research and development costs are spent on meeting regulatory and safety requirements.