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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Spearheading Innovation

 

According to the latest report by the German Federal Government’s Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation, the biotechnology sector in Germany provides one of the most innovation-friendly and modern industrial sectors for the development of advanced technologies (1). Achievements made within biotechnology include the development of new therapies and drugs, the cultivation of improved crops, and the supply of industrial raw materials.

KEY FIGURES

Figures published in two surveys this year provide a precise and impressive overview of the current situation in the sector, which is mainly represented by small and medium-sized enterprises. At the time of the survey, some 500 companies with a total of around 14,500 employees were working in the biotechnology sector (2). Biotechnology is also becoming increasingly important in companies where it represents only part of the corporate activities. Ninety-two of these companies – particularly pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of chemicals and seeds – employ more than 15,500 people in segments that are closely linked to biotechnology. As a result, a total of around 30,000 people are employed in commercial biotechnology.

Turnover in the sector increased by nine per cent in 2008, thus exceeding the €2 billion mark for the second year in a row. A large part of this growth – around 60 per cent – is due to successful suppliers (often in the diagnostics field). At the same time, investments in R&D increased slightly by 1.1 per cent. Therapeutic companies with products at the advanced pipeline stage in the clinical field were a contributing factor to the high expenditure on R&D, investing some €80 million. A turnover of around €54 million in the industrial biotechnology sector must also be taken into account (these statistics do not include information on the traditional chemical and pharmaceutical sectors).


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Dr Peter Heinrich is a co-founder of BIO Deutschland and has been Chairman of the Board since 2004. From 2003 to 2006, he served as the European Emerging Biopharmaceutical Enterprises’ (EBE) President. He is a co-founder of MediGene and was CEO of the company from 1995 to 2009. Prior to this position, he was Head of the Biochemistry Department at Wacker Chemie. He studied Biology and Chemistry at Munich University where he received a PhD in Biochemistry. He was subsequently a post-doc scientist for two years at Harvard University.
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