New OECD-compatible data for German biotech companies


Berlin – According to the latest figures from, Germany’s biotech sector has grown in the last year. A survey conducted by the information platform received an 85% response rate from the German bio­tech companies taking part. It revealed that turnover among the country’s 500 dedicated companies climbed 9?% to over a2bn in 2008, while R&D expenditure remained stable at approximately a1bn (+1.1%). The number of staff employed rose slightly. The survey was conducted on behalf of the German Research Ministry in early 2009. In compliance with the guidelines laid out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the study was conducted to help provide insights into the economic situation of the German bio-

tech landscape.

Importance of biotechnology

on the rise

The study identified a total of 500 companies in Germany that dealt either exclusively or predominantly with biotechnological procedures. These companies had 14,450 employees on their books (compared to 14,360 in 2007).
The importance of the field is also increasing in companies where biotechnology is just one business activity among others, according to the study. In the 92 companies that fell into this category – among them pharma firms, chemical enterprises, and seed manufacturers – 15,520 people were employed in bio­tech-related areas. That brings the total number of staff employed in commercial biotechnology in Germany to about 30,000, 1.4?% more than in 2007.

A maturing market

The average German biotech company is 8.6 years old. Roughly a third have been active for more than 10 years, whereas just 13% were founded in the last 3 years.
Many of the respondents set up shop in the wake of the 1996 Bio­Regio competition (1997-2001). About 60% of all biotech companies still operating today began their business activities during this period. The competition is also still visible in the current distribution of companies. Three of Germany’s four largest biotechnology clusters are located in the winning regions of the funding contest that was initiated by former German Research Minister Jürgen Rüttgers, are still booming. The Munich area and Rhineland/Cologne region were at the top of the list, along with Berlin-Brandenburg and Baden-Wurttemberg (see figure).
Most of the other companies active in the sector are situated in the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hessen and Lower Saxony, reflecting the strong industrial focus of the western part of the country.

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