Research & Development
R&D for the fields of the future
Crop protection and crop improvement will for these reasons continue to play an important role in the future. The research and development resources of Bayer CropScience place the new company in an excellent position to address these issues. From the discovery of classical active ingredients to genomics – Bayer CropScience possesses one of the most complete crop-linked research platforms in the business sector. The company has an R&D spending target of nine to ten percent of sales and currently maintains one of the largest R&D budgets in the crop production industry.
At international research centers around the globe, scientists from every corner of the Earth are using classical and cutting-edge approaches in their continuous pursuit of product innovations and enhancements to existing and new technologies. If crop protection is to meet present-day expectations, new active ingredients must fulfill the following key requirements for the benefit of Bayer CropScience's customers, shareholders and stakeholders:
- they should be highly selective in targeting pests, weeds or diseases;
- they must be highly effective at low application rates;
- they must be safe for humans and animals, environmentally compatible and bio-degradable;
- they must be at a price customers can afford to pay.
The company’s experts rely on process-oriented teamwork for the development of the products. This includes the field testing, the search for the best application form, and the extensive evaluation of all safety aspects concerning human health, fauna, flora and the environment. In parallel chemists and engineers are developing the manufacturing process from laboratory scale to industrial production.
Our research vision
- We collaborate globally with the best minds and use the most advanced technologies.
- We follow clear strategies and anticipate new requirements and opportunities. We are open to change and adapt flexibly to it.
- We base our Research culture on our values – competence, creativity, responsibility, respect, fairness, and trust.
- We are committed to dedicated teamwork and open communication.
- We promote and use all synergies within our company, Bayer.
The hit factory
In the 22nd century, a successful combination of cutting-edge technologies is pushing forward the development of innovative products with new modes of action. By pooling resources, Bayer CropScience is able to play a leading role in hit generation for new products using state-of-the-art platforms available.
A wide range of research activities are focusing on the discovery of new active ingredients. Gene analyses enable Bayer CropScience to search specifically for new targets in the metabolisms of various harmful organisms. The company uses a technology platform encompassing everything from comprehensive substance libraries, (U)HTS (Ultra-High Throughput Screening) processes and scientific computation to microscreening and advanced logistics.
Accelerating the search for new products
In its quest for new active substances, modern crop protection research uses automated processes to collect millions of test data every year. Automated processes – including the use of robots to test large numbers of chemical compounds for their biological effect – speed up hit generation for new active ingredients. If this mass screening is to be applied effectively nowadays, work methods must include genetic science know-how.
On average, only one in 50,000 tested chemical compounds fulfils the high standards for new commercial products. Thirty years ago, the rate was one in 10,000. The reason for this is the permanent increase in the number of safety tests required before a product can be successfully placed on the market.
A marathon of scientific testing
With its scientific computation systems, Bayer CropScience is optimally positioned to carry out the virtual screening of millions of existing data items. State-of-the-art computer systems calculate which molecules will match which specific structures and in exactly what way. The simulation of chemical structures enables characteristics to be researched and new compounds to be tested.
Utilising new technologies
Impact can also be increased by miniaturizing test procedures, for example by testing individual cells rather than complete plants. The amount of substance required for such analyses ranges from less than 0.01 to 2 milligrams. Miniaturization now enables several hundred thousand compounds to be tested per year – a quantum leap in research technology. The extremely small amounts of substance required means that combinatorial substance pools, as for pharmaceutical products, can be used for the screening of crop protection products. These large-scale substance pools serve as a starting point for activity testing on many of the targets.
R&D network established
All these different methods used in the search for new products and indications would be very much less effective without the logistics that ensure cooperation between Bayer CropScience's various research centers. The company also collaborates closely with national and international research companies, organizations and universities in the field of genomics. The complete development cycle – from hit generation to product launch – is a marathon of scientific testing. The entire procedure for bringing a new crop protection product on the market can last up to eight years or more. However, with its multinational experts and its worldwide R&D presence, Bayer CropScience is able to guarantee its excellent strategic positioning for the discovery of new active ingredients.