New Boost for Hungarian Biotechs
Budapest - The first biotechnology conference held by the Hungarian Biotechnology Association and the Hungarian Investment and Trade Development Agency in mid- January provided a broad platform for representatives of companies, the government and researchers. Renowned speakers from these parties presented the current state of the Hungarian biotechnology sector in terms of governmental support, tenders, effects of the recently adopted Innovation Act on the biotech sector as well as possibilities for founding spin-off companies.
Government Will Put
Biotech on Top Priorities List
“Every necessary precondition has to be ensured in order to make Hungary a distinguished place for biotechnology research,” emphasized János Kóka, Minister of Economic Affairs and Transport, adding that this included business development, funding possibilities as well as first class education and training of scientists. He will suggest to the government to select biotechnology as one of the five sectors most worthy for development in the next Europe Plan in Hungary. This could result in fundings from the European Union amounting to several hundred billion forints for biotech companies beginning in 2007.
Until then the government plans to prepare a support concept for biotechs - which according to the Hungarian daily Magyar Hírlap probably means a package comprising of state credits instead of public investments - since the Minister asked the National Office for Research and Technology, the Hungarian Development Bank and the development finance institution Corvinus International Investment to devise the concept.
Possibly also a so-called “matching fund” could be established for investments in the biotech sector, in which the government would supplement the same amount as already secured by private fundings.
More Money for Patenting
of Research Results Needed
Ernö Duda, President of the Hungarian Biotechnology Association, considers governmental support to be vital for the further development of the sector.
However measures like allowances on the tax on profit are not very effective in his opinion when most companies in need of support have not even reached break even yet. He would also like to see a stop to the “waste” of research results stemming from the lack of money for their patenting.
All in all, Hungarian biotechnology can look back on a successful year 2004. Solvo Biotechnology Inc. for instance, led by Duda as Chief Executive Officer, quadrupled its revenues.