Germany’s biotech sector grows despite financial crisis


Berlin – Despite the financial crisis, the German biotech sector has grown moderately in 2008: turnover was again above EUR2bn (+9%) and expenditure for R&D rose above EUR1bn (+1.1%). While the number of dedicated biotech companies, remained about the same at 501, there was a slight increase in the number of employees. These are the main results of the company survey conducted by the information platform on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The "Biotechnology Company Survey 2009" was officially introduced on May 6th. The data of this comprehensive annual survey were collected along the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and present an overview of the German biotech landscape.
Peter Heinrich, spokesman of the BIO Germany management board, emphasised, that in light of the current situation, by international comparison the German biotech sector is still looking relatively good. In the next three years, the industry will need at least one billion euros of equity to follow through with projects currently in company pipelines, finance innovative start-ups, and not be left behind internationally. "We welcome the Federal Ministry of Finance´s initiative to take back parts of the business tax reform", said Peter Heinrich.
The consultancy Ernst&Young released the results of their own assessment of the biotech sector at the same time as The "Biotechnology-Report 2009" confirms the trends elucidated by regarding turnover and the number of employees. However, Ernst&Young only includes about 400 companies in their survey due to a non-OECD biotechnology definition. According to the report, the number of candidates in drug development from German biotech companies has slightly increased from 303 to 308. There are some more drug candidates, 139, in clinical trials Phases I to III as in the previous year with 129. Currently, there are five candidates awaiting approval – compared to seven last year. The decrease is also a result of the successful authorisation of three new drugs.

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