WIN: its first ten years of success
Approaching the 10th anniversary of the project, Biolchim takes stock of the road travelled to date
The WIN project, an international platform of cooperations aimed at boosting innovation in plant nutrition and reducing the time to market of biostimulants, came into existence in January 2012. While preparing to celebrate its first 10 years, Biolchim is taking stock of the results achieved and setting the future goals.
As Leonardo Valenti, CEO of the Biolchim Group, stated:
In the past 10 years we have invested a huge amount of resources to expanding and organizing WIN. Actually, it can no longer be described as a project. Over time, WIN turned into a real organization for research and innovation that allows us to successfully develop biostimulants and special fertilizers in a very short time. Even though its procedures are scientifically rigorous and systematic, WIN retains the strong practical and concrete guidance which characterizes our Company. In Biolchim, we wear the lab coat with the rubber boots, as we innovate with the focus on supporting the farmers and meeting together the challenges of competitiveness and sustainable development.
Internal resources, external collaborations, and knowledge are the foundations of WIN. From 2012 to date, Biolchim‘s Research & Development has grown dramatically to become a business unit which takes advantage of 16 highly trained scientists and a Research Centre equipped with 3 chemical labs for quality control and product formulation, several pilot plants to reproduce industrial processes on a small scale, and a trial station with glasshouses and growth chambers.
The internal capability to innovate is multiplied exponentially by the WIN collaboration network, which presently consists of about 100 high-profile partners including universities, research centres, laboratories, and private test facilities.
In Biolchim, product development is a long and complex process which takes place entirely in the framework of the WIN network. Selection of raw materials and validation of products are the key steps to final success.
In the words of Antonio Di Nardo, R&D Director of the Biolchim Group:
Raw materials are screened by an array of in-vitro bioassays on model systems. They have been developed in-house or in cooperation with scientific partners which collaborate with us on a regular basis. Bioassays fit the screening stage of product development as they are simple, fast, and standardized, allowing the analysis of a very large number of samples in a short time. Obviously, their results must be validated on crops and field testing is the second key point of product development. Trials are carried out on a massive scale in many crops and countries, in order to collect as much information as possible on how the products work in different soil and growing conditions.
Field testing on a large scale is the baseline for selecting the most effective biostimulants and special fertilizers, placing them correctly on each and every market, and providing farmers with customized guidelines on how to get the most out of them.
Even after the market launch, Biolchim does not stop field testing its products and unravelling their mode of action, also through the so-called omics plattforms.
They are very powerful analysis tools which allow to collect detailed information on how biostimulants impact plant physiology and metabolism, all of which are very valuable for product exploitation and registration.
Since the WIN project started, more than 500 innovative raw materials have been evaluated. Roughly, 20 of these are currently included in Biolchim’s formulations while 50 are under study. Di Nardo concludes:
The first 10 years of WIN have led to positive results. Thanks to WIN, Biolchim has developed or optimized successful biostimulants such as FOLICIST®, NOV@®, BLUPRINS®, VHERA, VHERA LIFE, and the biological fungicide T34 BIOCONTROL®. WIN also contributed to strengthen intangible assets such as the value of our brand, which today more than ever goes along with the Company’s high quality standards and reliability.