Aboca Group: Chairman Valentino Mercati has been awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Pisa for his scientific research and intuition

Scientific research into complex vegetable substances, and the innovative understanding of the duality between natural and artificial substances, have led to Valentino Mercati, founder and chairman of the Sansepolcro-based company Aboca, being awarded an Honorary Degree in “Vegetable and microbial biotechnology”. The local businessman, already a Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Labour), was awarded the degree by Massimo Maria Augello, Rector of Pisa University, at a public ceremony held in the University’s Great Hall on 25 October 2016.

Following a reading of the grounds for the award by Professor Rossano Massai, Director of the Agricultural and Environmental Studies Department, and the laudatory speech by Professor Annamaria Ranieri, chairwoman of the degree course in “Vegetable and microbial biotechnology”, Valentino Mercati gave a lecture on “The benefits of biotechnology for human health and the well-being of the natural environment”.

The grounds for the degree award included Valentino Mercati’s creation of the Aboca business enterprise which, as well as being a leader in the sector of medical devices and food supplements based on complex natural molecules, is also a good example of a dynamic business that contributes towards scientific research into vegetable substances and their use for therapeutic purposes. Pisa University also underlined Valentino Mercati’s cultural commitment leading to the foundation of the Aboca Museum, the only museum in the world entirely dedicated to humanity’s relationship with medicinal plants, and to numerous projects dealing with questions of health, medicine, art, history and philosophy.

“This honorary degree, awarded by such a prestigious institution as Pisa University, is very important since it represents acknowledgement of the validity of a new way of thinking originating 40 years ago, and which was initially faced with numerous obstacles before it became accepted thinking” Valentino Mercati declared.

At present, Aboca employs over 1,000 workers and produces 67 different types of medicinal plant, which the company transforms without the addition of any artificial substances (be they of a synthetic or a genetically modified nature). The company’s plants are grown over an area of some 1,200 hectares, and all of this land is managed using organic methods that are certified both in Europe and the rest of the world. Aboca’s products are sold in more than 20,000 pharmacies in 14 different countries, and the group boasts a turnover of 128 million euro and 32 different international patents.

“Today, fortunately, thanks to, among other things, the invaluable work of all the co-workers employed by Aboca who share the company’s underlying philosophy and core values, the thought which inspired me in the mid-1970s is shared to an increasing degree by the scientific community, revealing the affinity between vegetable substances and human physiology, and overcoming the problem of handling such complex substances through the utilisation of modern sciences such as the so-called ‘omics’, as well as bioinformatics” adds Valentino Mercati.

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