Russian Biotech
as a Super Venture
24 October 2023
EFKO at Made in Russia 2023 Event

Made in Russia Export Forum at Manege Central Exhibition Hall in Moscow has now ended. Sergey Ivanov, EFKO Executive Director, contributed to the session “Unicorns at Future Markets” and provided a fresh perspective on the investment opportunities of Russian biotech. Our brief summarizes the main ideas of the speech and the feedback from session participants.

Sergey Ivanov,
EFKO Executive Director
“Russian science has almost for the first time approached the possibility of giving a touch to the issue of healthy longevity and even food as medicine. All this is done in one tub and is known under biotechnology.

ТIt just seems that biotech is something complex and distant. In fact, we deal with this every day. Without biotech we cannot raise poultry, there will be no grain, we will not make yogurt, kvass, bread, cheese. But we are dependent on imports.

It would be rational to develop our own school. But it is difficult to inspire a scientist with the task of catching up with someone or replacing something imported. What can you consider for inspiration?

The future. For example, new scientific fields and new food. Creating sugar-free candies based on sweet protein and enriched with dietary fibre will work much better.

Even the reality that multinational corporations cannot agree on what makes sustainable and green food is not concealed. We have the opportunity to say, “Wait, it's not just the carbon footprint! There's also the land, and the fresh water, and the impact on biodiversity. Let’s try to estimate an aggregate indicator (let’s call it a unit of nature) and compare ourselves with each other using this metric.”

What's next? Biotechnology is actively entering the territory of human physiology. And there are both inspiring opportunities and threats that give rise to fear and anxiety. This is a natural reaction. And for people to believe us, we shall offer the world the ethical code of a Russian biotechnologist. It shall have clear red lines that the scientist never crosses. And then we will be able to talk about food as a humanitarian mission. And about Russian food, not just as proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but also as a consequence of the humanitarian idea related to a human.”

Herman Gref,
CEO and chairman of the executive board of Sberbank of Russia
“EFKO has been our client for many years. I trace their development and admire what they do. This is one of the largest innovative companies. What they do, from innovations in management to plenty of super interesting investments, is, of course, an inspiration to so many entrepreneurs.

This gives me so many emotions. First, we know Beyond Meat company quite well. It is the first unicorn in this field. I remember when they started presenting figures.

Do you know how much water is used to produce one hamburger patty? 2.5 tons. The global water shortage is because our agriculture is so developed, and our population is growing and growing. The other side is the volume of emissions that agriculture produces into the atmosphere. More than all vehicles combined.

A fly in the ointment: Beyond Meat entered the market with much excitement, but since then, its capitalization has dropped by 80–90%. And not because its meat is not consumed. You never tell the difference. I also tried meat from you (“EFKO” – editor’s note). You will eat it with pleasure. And it's obviously healthier than animal meat. But Beyond Meat faced with such a gigantic lobby that this may also be the biggest challenge on your path.”

Photo © Kirill Zykov, RIA Novosti

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