The purpose of this presentation is to describe the general Field R&D process undertaken by Abbott Laboratories and other agrochemical companies when developing a new plant growth regulator (PGR). A recently registered PGR for citrus named `EcoLyst' is used throughout the presentation as an example of common development strategies. Agrochemical companies acquire many new PGR compounds from outside sources, while others are discovered internally. Internal technology is obviously much simpler to control. In Abbott's case, most of the new PGR compounds are brought in from other places as a result of focused efforts to find new technology for development. Researchers, sales and marketing personnel, and full-time acquisition specialists all share the responsibility for finding new prospect PGRs. After a new PGR is identified, a company like Abbott must first determine if the lead is potentially available, and then, if it has sufficient value to warrant acquisition or in-licensing efforts. Once a PGR passes an initial screening process and is approved for potential development, a coordinated chain of events is initiated throughout the company's organization to accelerate work on the project. Field R&D creates a comprehensive research plan for the PGR that contains development goals. The scope of the research program increases significantly after the first research year, provided results are favorable. University and government scientists are generally brought into the research programs after a year or two of in-house testing. At predetermined control points in the development process, go/no go decisions are made based on reviews of research data, business plans, and regulatory progress.
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