The Biotechnology Industry

The primary goal of the biotechnology industry is to invent new biologically-active substances, for the treatment of disease, the pharmaceutical industry, and the management of agriculture.

The U.S. is the world leader in biotechnology, currently providing employment for more than 300,000 people in over 6,000 U.S. biotech companies, with an estimated market capitalization of approximately USD 281 billion in 2008. The biotechnology industry has more than tripled in size since 2000, with revenues increasing from USD 25 billion in 2000 to more than USD 80 billion in 2008. In 2007, Amgen, Inc., the world’s largest biotechnology company, achieved total sales of USD 14.7 billion. Expectations are that the biotechnology market will increase to more than USD 130 billion by 2011.

Geographically, the U.S. accounts for 65% of the biotechnology market, Europe 23%, Canada 7%, Australia 3%, and the rest of the world, 2%.

Today, genomics and bioinformatics development both are being pursued within major pharmaceutical companies. There have been key collaborations with traditional IT technology companies such as IBM, Hitachi, Ltd., Samsung, SK Telecomm and Motorola. The U.S. biotechnology research and pharmaceutical industry spent a record USD 8.5 billion in 2007 on the R&D of new medicines and vaccines. As of 2006, the biotechnology industry compared favorably with the pharmaceutical industry in terms of R&D expenditures per employee. Venture capital investments in bioscience companies reached USD 11.6 billion in 2007.

Ernst & Young reported that in 2006, 82 publicly-traded Canadian biotech firms claimed S3.2 billion in revenue, accounting for 4.4% of global biotech revenues. Human health accounts for the largest segment of the Canadian biotech industry, representing more than half the interest of all biotech companies, approximately 70% of all biotech revenues and nearly 90% of all biotech R&D. Bioinforrnatics provides an important capability for the Canadian biotech industry, encompassing genomics and other “omics”, tissue engineering and drug discovery technology.

Canadian bioinformatics companies include Bioinformatics Solutions, Inc., DNA LandMarks, Inc., and Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation. Montreal, Quebec, has Canada’s leading biotech cluster, followed by Toronto, Ontario; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Five European Union (E.U.) member states-Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the U.K.-continue to be world leaders in biotech innovation along with the U.S. and Japan. In the second half’ of 2007, European biotech companies reached USD 765.3 million in venture capital investment. In January and February of 2008, venture capital funds invested a total of USD 145.6 million into new European biotech companies; however, with the economic stresses of the latter part of the year, many European biotech firms may find it harder to raise money in early 2009.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization of Germany (BlO Deutschland), located in Berlin, has more than 180 members, including companies, BioRegions, and sector service providers. The goal of the organization is to support and promote a stable economy through innovation in bioscience. Among the German biotech companies are the Biotechnology Research and Information Network (BRAIN AG), 4SC. AG, Bionas, UmbEl and Direvo, which recently (September 2008) was purchased by the German pharmaceutical and chemicals giant Bayer HealthCare. In view of’ the burgeoning German biotech sector, traditional German scientific companies like Eppendorf, AG, Sartorius, AG and Qiagen also have gotten into the act.

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