Agrochemical R&D costs have risen significantly in recent years as the resources spent on environmental and toxicity studies and field trials continue to trend upwards. Bringing a new agrochemical product to market now costs in the region of $100–350 million, and takes over a decade on average.
To a large extent, these cost increases have been driven by tighter regulatory requirements, as well as growing consumer demand for more environmentally friendly agricultural practices and crop protection products (CPPs). Agrochemical companies exporting into markets, such as the U.S., UK and Brazil, are facing tougher regulations for exporting materials, meaning formulators may find they need to refine and adapt formulations to meet the latest standards of these territories.
Meanwhile, public concerns over the safety of herbicide products are challenging agrochemical companies to develop alternatives to existing products. Recent high-profile headlines over glyphosate-containing formulations, for example, underline the importance of robust formulations research so companies can respond to consumer wants. In turn, this helps to protect brand reputation and maintain market share.
Against these prevailing industry trends, formulators are under renewed pressure to accelerate the development of effective and environmentally safe formulations. So how can you ensure your formulation R&D workflows are as efficient and cost-effective as possible?
Narrow your ingredient strategy before testing
Crop protection in the U.S., Europe and Brazil involves the control of a number of crop- and region-specific plants and insects. With product development costs rising, gathering evidence to inform robust design before starting resource-intensive safety studies and field tests has become an increasingly important cost-saving strategy. Online research is a key component of formulation development that enables the design of test formulations based on insight from existing product information and literature sources.
However, this process is frequently time consuming and challenging. A considerable amount of background research is required to identify baselines for formulation design and to assess active and inert ingredients, and such data are often hidden away in publications. While titles and abstracts are a good starting point, the actual data presented within may not always be relevant. In some cases, the information is incomplete, prompting further investigation to determine whether the findings apply across different conditions.
When sourcing materials, for example, ingredient details and information will often be obtained from several different suppliers. Specifications must be checked against all the various regulatory and safety requirements for regions where the product will be used. When using basic search tools and un-curated databases and content libraries, this process can be time intensive and may involve several different attempts before reliable answers to search queries are found.
Agrochemical R&D is inherently an iterative process, with laboratory tests informing development strategy. However, more robust research in the early stages can reduce the potential for unnecessary iterations which can extend timelines and use more resources in the long run.
How using Formulus® gives agrochemical formulators a data advantage
Increased emphasis on food and applicator safety, including operator exposure in the agrochemical industry, has led to a focus on environmentally friendly CPPs. Formulus gives agrochemical R&D companies a competitive advantage by providing valuable data from patents including published experimental test results, going well beyond the information provided in scientific journals alone.
This data can help companies streamline the development of crop protection formulations. Find out how by reading our latest use case where we explore the processes for controlling Palmer Amaranth while protecting corn and consumer health.