Catching up on the biotech revolution
In order to keep track of developments and to promote network-creation, for both domestic-domestic and domestic-foreign cooperations the South Moravian Innovation Centre, Brno, has conducted the Czech Republic’s first comprehensive biotech survey which follows OECD recommendations. Its findings are presented in the Czech Biotech Report 2006. The report testifies that the Czech biotech sector is developing at a rapid pace. A long history of biotechnology research and development has secured the country a strong position in a number of technological areas, including industrial biotechnology and health care.
Experts from the South Moravian Innovation Centre have identified 120 biotechnology companies in the Czech Republic. In line with current OECD recommendations, 55 companies, predominantly from traditional food, beverages and brewing industries, were omitted from the survey. From the remaining 65 biotechnology companies, 20 were identified as ‘dedicated’ Czech biotechnology firms, 11 as subsidiaries of foreign dedicated biotech firms and 34 as so-called innovative biotech firms (biotech business units of otherwisely diversified companies). Besides private enterprises and corporations, the report names 220 universities and biotechnology research institutes in the country.
The authors see the Czech Republic’s biggest advantage in its tight academic network of universities and research in stitutes that is spread accross the whole country, instead of being mainly concentrated around the capital region of Prague. In 2005, according to the report, 56,777 students were enrolled on life science courses at universities, with an output of 7,400 graduates annually.
Development of distinct clusters
Prague is, and always has been, a centre for
research and development, and the capital region maintains its attraction as a strong
biotech location. Prague and Central Bohemia are home to 4 in 10 of the biotech companies and to almost half of all universities and biotech research institutes.
Another important cluster is forming around the city of Brno in Southern Moravia, which has a strong tradition in medical research, particularly with cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Brno enjoys an excellent infrastructure, a strong academic network and encourangement from the local government. It is home to roughly one-fifth of the companies and research institutes identified in the report.
The survey of the companies’ and research institutes’ ‘biotechnology techniques’ and ‘biotechnology applications’ points to a very broad expertise within the Czech biotech community, and accross all disciplines. Still, companies concentrate their activities in the sectors of environment (83%), microbial and cell biotechnology (81%) and human/veterinary diagnostics (63%). The three sectors in which Czech research institutes are most active in are plant biotechnology (96%), microbial and cell biotechnology (40%) and animal biotechnology (39%).
South Moravian Innovation Centre – JIC
U Vodárny 2, 616 00 Brno, Czech Republic
Tel./Fax: +420-541-1430-00 /-11