Ventria Bioscience and the Controversy over Plant-Made Medicines

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Case Study: “Ventria Bioscience and the Controversy over Plant - Made Medicines” GB590 Corporate Social Responsibility
Prof. Timothy Loney
By Willette Marchany Rivera
February 22, 2011

Introduction: Case overview
Ventria Bioscience, a biotechnology firm based in California, faces the challenge of commercializing a product with potential and considerable public health benefits. Ventria had developed a ground-breaking technology using genetically modified (GM) rice to grow the proteins lactoferrin and lysozyme, both found in human breast milk, which can be used for the treatment of diarrhea in children, tourists and the military. (Lawrence and Weber, 2010, p. 494) However, the pioneer biotechnology invention has to go through regulatory processes and stakeholder’s scrutiny, before it can enter the market. There are ethical concerns over the plant-based medicines and opposition coming from consumer advocates, environmentalists, rice farmers and food safety activists. Ventria needs to overcome the regulatory environment and manage its stakeholder relations in order to succeed and release this product for sale. In order to do so they must establish a strategic plan to improve their triple bottom line performance. They need to convince stakeholders that the potential benefits are desirable and that they can safely and responsibly deliver the product to be commercialized. Even then, Ventria and the biotechnology industry might always face opposition from groups against genetically modified organisms in which human genes are also manipulated. “The public’s reactions to plant- made pharmaceuticals were likely to be extreme, given the high benefits, potential risks, and deep moral quandaries posed by these new technologies.” (Lawrence & Weber, 2010, p. 492)

Financial goal
Ventria’s financial goal is to make profit from producing in a big scale the GM rice they developed and selling it at an affordable price. The plant-made pharmaceutical concept was...
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