Bionaturis acquired last May the company BBD BioPhenix, a leader in state-of-the-art screening systems for drug discovery. Its general manager, Andoni Cruz, highlights the main values of the company and the challenges they are facing from now on after this movement with Bionaturis.

-What is the outstanding value of BBD?

BBD is a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) that uses the zebra fish as animal model for drug screening. Comparing  to other alternatives using this model we can talk about eight years of cumulative experience. One of our main features that makes us different from the competition is the orientation to tailor-made assays to fulfill the specific requirements of our customers, from different sectors such as the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, agrochemical, cosmetics and nutraceutical industries, always needed of customized solutions. Moreover, BBD is one of the first zebra fish CRO that is working under GLPs (Good Laboratory Practices) and our track record working with multinational companies is a great presentation card.

-How are you facing this new period with Bionaturis? In what values are both coinciding?

This new time ahead of us is an opportunity to grow in international markets with the solid financial and commercial support of Bionaturis. The access to the Chinese and LATAM markets, using Bionaturis current position will mean a turning point in the growing expectations of the company.

On the other hand, I stand out the high level of synergies that both companies have in their business philosophy and vision, with the recruitment and retention of talent and innovation as their rock-solid bases.  Both companies share the goal of seeking solutions to optimize the drug discovery and production processes that will make easier to people to access cutting-edge drugs with the final common goal of democratizing the access to health.

 –What are the next challenges for BBD?

On one hand, BBD has as its short term goal the consolidation in the ‘Drug Discovery’ market increasing its customer portfolio, and on the other hand, the access to new niche markets such as the petrochemical, agrochemical, cosmetics and nutraceutics ones. A common feature of these markets is the use of the zebra fish as a validated animal model into the approval processes for new compounds, which opens up a variety of possibilities for us. A paradigmatic case about how the legislation in a sector has a direct effect to increase the use of an animal model as the zebra fish is found in the cosmetics sector. Due to the approval of the European guideline that bans animal assays to screen cosmetic compounds, the zebra fish has gained huge position due to it is considered that until 5 days after the fertilization, the zebra fish embryos are ‘in vitro’ models, therefore its use is allowed under this EU directive.

Other of our challenges is to generate new IP (Intelectual Property) to protect our new development of disease models and assays for optimization of the drug  discovery process.

-What projects is BBD developing?

BBD is developing a great number of projects hand by hand with multinational companies around the world. To mention a few, shortly, results about teratogenicity assays of petroleum-derived compounds will be announced. Another of the international relevant organizations we are working for is the Malarian Medicine Venture Foundation (MMV), of Melinda and Bill Gates. Nowadays, we are working in exciting projects with excellent results that we hope to announce in the medium term.