External Analysis

The CRISPR technology is an extremely marketable asset, which although is appealing to all botanical related businesses, will be directed towards specifically agriculture. In order to better identify our target segment or to recognize opportunities in the market place for the CRISPR technology, an external analysis was conducted. In this analysis, different major crops and the markets they encompass were reviewed, primarily to select for larger markets in which it there would be an interest. In addition, crops that were known to be susceptible to double stranded DNA viral infections were examined. The ideal focus for this technology would be a combination of the two, a niche market that could potentially generate a larger profit margin yet still having a need for the technology.

Of the many crops examined, it was difficult to find any that were affected by double stranded DNA viruses and only two contenders, cauliflower and cassava, met the requirements of both criteria. Between the two - cassava presents a more sizeable market as is a vital food crop. Although primarily grown out of Africa, it is an important source of nutrition in the tropics, Asia, and Latin America. World trade in cassava products, excluding trade among EU countries, presently stands at about 12 percent of global production. Nigeria, the number one producer of cassava, alone yields about 54,000,000 metric tonnes annually. Although the cauliflower crop has seen some rise in popularity in recent years, due to the recognition of the health benefits from the brassica family it is still a much smaller market in comparison with its number one producer, China, which yielded only 8,067,917 metric tonnes in 2007. Thus, cassava would be an attractive market to introduce the CRISPR technology.

Conducting business in Nigeria however, may prove quite difficult in the controversial usage of GMO’s. Even within the last year civil society groups in Lagos, Nigeria, petitioned the Federal Government against any attempt to introduce Genetically Modified (GM) foods or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into the agricultural sector of the country. Although, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, indicated that Nigeria aims to increase its food production with the use of Genetically Modified (GM) crops the social factors can potentially prove inhibitory. This is especially a higher risk venture for an emerging business; border affairs, gaining foot hold in a foreign country, as well as regulatory policies all provide road blocks to exporting CRISPR technology.

Another potential organism to consider for the CRISPR technology is algae, which despite not being a food crop - poses an interesting opportunity. Use of algae for industrial applications is a quickly emerging market. From biofuels to bioremediation, investment in this market is trending and with it there is an increased demand for algae farms. Larger players in the R&D algae space such as Exxon-Synthetic Genomics have invested $600 million in collaborative efforts for green crude development . Even smaller companies are receiving investments of a comparatively modest $10 million USD . This is an ideal niche market which is rapidly expanding and is a hotspot for investment. In terms of use of GMO’s and its biotechnical implications there would not be such a protest in use of GMO’s with the R&D collaborators as would be in Nigeria. In addition, depending on the growth or use of the algae, a virus outbreak in a closed fluid system would be much more devastating than on isolated patches in fields, thus demonstrating more of a selling point for the CRISPR technology.

*Note that in the use of bioremediation of this suspended algae farm over a small stretch of high way in Geneva, Switzerland, the algae are in a closed fluid system.

These potential targets segments pave the way for a more detailed strategic business plan to be implemented. One way in which this technology can be used commercially in a scale up procedure is starting with smaller farms associated with lower risk. In this way this first run would help eliminate any inefficiencies and potential problems that may unexpectedly arise. Once we have streamlined this process and have proven that this technology is successfully implemented, a next step would be to target larger farms and to broaden our range.