Recently becoming the sixth largest economy in the world, Brazil has relied, in large part, on its comparative advantages of resource extraction and agriculture. Sustained long-term growth will require Brazil moves into higher value industries that build of off its comparative advantage. Biotechnology has surfaced as a sector of strategic importance, and government involvement in finance, education and research and development has created an industry on the cusp of global significance. By examining sources of finance, human capital accumulation, research and development, intellectual property rights and supporting institutions, we seek to provide a broad overview of Brazil’s nascent biotechnology sector. Spotlights of the agriculture, human health and reagent industries as well as an analysis of the Minas Gerais biotechnology cluster flesh out biotechnology’s place in Brazil’s economy. An antiquated intellectual property rights regime, an insufficient number of qualified researchers and dearth of venture capital firms and private sources of finance are key bottlenecks that must be addressed in order to promote industry growth and consolidation.