In 2008 it seemed like Enrique Reynaud had the world in his back pocket. A veteran professor of molecular biology at Mexico's largest and most important university, he was about to start his first company, Biohominis. It was a kind of Mexican 23andMe—a laboratory that could offer insight into a customer's genetic proclivity to hypertension, diabetes and other diseases.
In many ways, Biohominis was the culmination of Mexico's biotech tradition, which goes back to Norman Borlaug, who kicked off a green revolution around Texcoco. Biohominis was based in part on innovative applications of the polymerase chain reactions used in genetic testing and was developing techniques to identify cancers, metabolic problems, and viruses in humans and livestock.
This article was originally published with the title Why Can't Mexico Make Science Pay Off?.