The following is the AgroPages interview with Dr. Khosro Khodayari, President and CEO of SynTech Research, published 22 October 2015.
With strengthening supervision of agrochemicals by governments around the world, and market demand becoming more specialized, premium and diversified, Contract Research Organizations (CROs) in the field of agriculture are continuously improving their innovation and research capabilities and expanding their service portfolios. Meanwhile, this industry is seeing more frequent mergers and acquisitions, along with enhanced collaborations. Emerging markets will certainly see more fierce business competitions. Recently, AgroPages invited Dr Khosro Khodayari, President and CEO of SynTech Research to share his viewpoints on development status, competitive advantages, challenges and strategies in emerging markets, as well as investment programs in the future
Development Status and Competitive advantages
In recent years, CROs in the field of agriculture have maintained stability and have achieved impressive growth rates, mainly benefiting from increasing market demand, technical skills and high quality services. Diversification of service portfolios, increasing global coverage, driving innovation and research capabilities as well as exploring new business areas are all necessary factors to ensure continuous development in a fiercely competitive market moving forward.
SynTech: “SynTech’s revenue has grown on average 10% p.a.between 2005 and 2014; in the same period, the organization has grown from 20 staff at its original base in California to over 300 full-time employees worldwide today. We have established a network of field stations/satellites, in, 29 countries across the world.”
“SynTech has been re-positioning itself to exploit emerging business opportunities driven by the growth of seeds/traits R&D, including GMOs, which compete for R&D resources within the major Ag Products company portfolios.”
“We recruit technical and managerial staff with extensive experience in agronomy, agrochemical and seeds R&D, in both the laboratory and field, and provide extensive technical training programs across our global sites, to ensure continues development of our staff and consistency in project delivery. A focus on “delivery on time and to specifications”, which is critical to building confidence and satisfaction with clients, and building our reputation in the industry, is paramount to our brand recognition and gaining repeat business.”
“In addition, we develop strong relationships with multinationals; this and a company strategy that resonates with our clients, critical to achieving our growth and performance targets.”
Challenges and Strategies of Emerging Markets
Emerging markets are full of growth opportunities for CROs, while some factors, such as the lack of harmonized government supervision system, a deficiency of highly skilled local employees, complicated tax systems, as well as cumbersome labor laws, affect and restrict the expansion and development of CROs in these markets. However, these CROs are still exploring their own development path.
SynTech: “Our aim in fast growing emerging agriculture/agrochemical markets is to provide services to our key regional and global clients at the same high level of quality as we doin the USA and Europe.”
Investment Programs in the Future
CROs will execute expansion plans via M&A, cooperation, focusing on enriching of lab services and construction of wider field trial bases. Meanwhile, CROs will increase consultancy services for marketing and regulation compliance, to meet the clients demand. In addition to existing core services, EAS Group, Syntech and other service providers will expand their seeds/traits businesses.
SynTech: “Much of SynTech’s field and laboratory service expansion has been through organic growth of our business and our staff numbers, and acquisition of facilities. New field sites are now being established in the US– already opened in Florida and Iowa. We are also planning four new sites in each of Brazil and Argentina, and significant expansion of our operations in Germany, Poland, UK, Eastern EU, Central America, South East Asia, China and India.”
“SynTech has also formed very successful alliances with experienced CRO partners to fill certain territorial and service gaps in our coverage. This year we have partnered with Symbiotic Research in the US, to provide access to additional analytical expertise e.g.for environmental fate, metabolism and physical-chemical studies. We are expanding our terrestrial ecotoxicology capability in Europe, based at our EU HQ near Macon in France.We also intend to augment our Latin American operation with residue and ecotoxicology analytical facilities, and to extend our field testing presence to 32 countries.”