Jose Manuel Lara is the Technical Development and R&D Department Manager and has spent more than ten years in Futureco Bioscience SAU being a key element in the growth of the company. He coordinates with Carolina Fernández the Department of R&D and Regulatory Affairs. As rigorous as practical, he is one of those lucky people that can admit as few he likes and feels satisfied with his job.
How and when you become part of Futureco Bioscience?
In 2003. It coincided with the fact I moved to live in Barcelona. I had some experience working with microorganisms for agricultural use. I saw the website, liked it, sent my CV and offered myself to become part of the team, an offer they agreed to as at that time Futureco Bioscience was starting to work on the development of NOFLY.
You were very timely.
Yes. The truth is that Rafael Juncosa (CEO of the company) said that considering the experience I had, that could make the project go faster. By that time the R&D Department was integrated by only one person, Carolina Fernández. Since then I started working with Futureco Bioscience and the growth of the Department began.
What impression did you have when you joined?
When I joined the company Futureco Bioscience was much smaller than now. I thought from the beginning that it was a very dynamic company. Although small, it seemed to have a very clear horizon of growth and a very strong commitment for development and research. My impression was that you could work quite comfortably, with intensity but also with comfort.
What were your first roles in R&D?
At that time the priority was NOFLY. They were working some time ago with this product. Everything was done with external subcontracting, and things went slow. It was also the first experience of Futureco Bioscience in the European registration of an active substance. It coincided with the change of the rules, and the truth is that it had a very complex process, and therefore was my first direct contribution to this project.
And you continued outsourcing R&D to university?
Although we collaborate, it is true that one of the major limitations we had in 2003 is that all we had to do outsourced. Then came the opportunity to request a CDTI to develop a new biopesticide for controlling the banana black weevil. A primary objective of this project was to have our own research facilities. So in 2005 we were able to open our first laboratories in the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, in the Mediterranean Technology Park in Castelldefels.
How long did you stay there?
Until 2011, when the new headquarters in Olèrdola opened and we were able to bring together the three parts of Futureco Bioscience at the same facility. The administration offices, the production plant and the R&D laboratories and Regulatory Affairs office.
In all this time, what has changed in your work?
Rather than a change it has been a progression. Since the beginning of responsibilities specifically focused on research, gradually adding the control of regulatory aspects of not only biopesticides, but also fertilizer products. The implementation of the ISO 9001 system allowed me not only to know the aspect of research and development of the company but also the productive part. Since then we have been growing across all fronts, because one thing would lead to another.
What responsibilities did you gain?
As you grow as a company there are more markets and products. The fact that you know better the products makes you necessarily incur in everything that has to do with regulatory issues. Labeling, quality control... I must say that implementing the quality management system when that work had not been previously done, was a before and after for the company. Before the accreditation in 2005, the size of the company and its manufacturing volume didn't suppose a need for it, but we reached the point where if we avoided to implement it, everything would run to be much more complicated. That accreditation in 2005 was a before and an after in the way of working and in my work too.
You also have ISO 14001
Already in the Olèrdola headquarters, where it had more sense to be implemented. If we have all integrated units, it's easier to control. ISO 14001 is an extension of the ISO 9001, with two fundamental aspects: the regulatory control of everything you do, not only of the products, but all your activity; and the evaluation and monitoring of the environmental impact of your activity. Manufacturing, commercialisation, etc..
Do you like your job?
I feel very comfortable.
What would you highlight as the best?
The possibility of doing many things and see results, although it takes quite a long time. I am excited about the product line of biopesticides, and I think this concept and philosophy from the beginning that has had Futureco Bioscience to develop new products with low environmental impact is something that makes me feel satisfied, to take part in some subjects or aspects. The company wants to have a leading position in the sector. Sometimes we have too many fronts open, and that is difficult to manage at times, but sometimes not as many. I would highlight the dynamism, also.
At what point of the road the way has been difficult?
Specially when we have grown in both personnel and projects. It is difficult to get to everything. Despite this, I think that with the restructuring that we implemented recently in the R&D Department, earlier in this year, and as people expand their horizon of responsibilities, management will be done in a more autonomous way and it will make the way easier.
Exactly what tasks or functions does the Regulatory Affairs Department carry in a company as Futureco Bioscience?
In short, the regulatory issues are what allow the safe marketing of manufactured goods. In that it allows to put these products on the market you have to be careful to comply with regulations applicable to them especially in biopesticides theme, and also licenses, certifications or accreditations you have as an industry. Also organic farming certifications.
Do you patent Futureco Bioscience products?
The patent is also something we are working in. If you have R&D, it is essential to patent what you do. Otherwise, all the work and all the developments that are likely to make them stay in one stage or phase that does not allow commercial exploitation is after. It's something that we have not worked in the past, but with the growth we are having is quite a pressing need.
What are your expectations for the future in the business?
Expectations are high, in the sense that we are still in the process or are about to enter a phase of exponential growth quite important. It remains remarkable that in two years we urge to expand our spaces located Olèrdola, as they are not enough for manufacturing and R&D demand. I think we are laying the groundwork for an expansion that is promising, that may be important and of course in which I want to be part of.
Besides working, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I like to take my life calmly. The typical.
Could you recommend us a book?
Yes, a book that people would read... I do really like the Latin American literature and my favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as my favorite book is One Hundred Years of Solitude.
What about a movie?
I don't have a favorite movie. There are cult movies that I would look again and again, such as “Pulp Fiction”. But if I have to think or recommend a nice movie that leaves a rich and good message, I'd recommend “In the Name of the Father”.