German biotech on the upswing
27.04.2016 - More revenue, more jobs, more financing, more R&D expenditure – all signs point towards sustainable growth in the German biotech sector. These are the results of the most recent company survey 2016, published by biotechnologie.de. The report was once again conducted alongside the biotech standards defined by the organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD).
According to the figures, sales of 593 dedicated biotech companies increased in 2015 to €3.28bn. Compared to last year, this is a strong rise of 8.3%. The most significant increase was in industrial biotechnology (+ 14.3%; €244.4bn), followed by medically active biotech companies (9.9%, €2.28bn). Similarly positive is the trend in spending on research and development (R&D): at €1.04bn, it is the first time this value has been over the billion mark since 2010 and has such put an end to the stagnation of recent years. Most capital went into the development of new therapies and diagnostics (+ 11.3%, €772.8bn).
The survey, which was carried out by BIOCOM, also showed an increase in staff numbers: at the end of 2015, in the dedicated companies, i.e. companies mainly concerned with biotechnology, a total of 19,010 jobs were counted (2014: 17,930), an increase of 6% compared to the previous year. With an increase of 5.5% to 20,250 employees, the other biotechnologically active companies registered in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry in Germany once again also showed growth.
Overall, the industry employs almost 40,000 people across Germany. “The growth is not just limited to beacon companies in the sector, but can be observed all over the whole country, especially in small and medium-sized companies,” said BIOCOM study leader Sandra Wirsching. The study showed that the industry is becoming increasingly less dependent on large companies and has grown across the spectrum.
A look at the main activities of the companies that were able to successfully attract funding also illustrates that the companies currently offering product candidates or platform technologies in immune oncology, infectious diseases or for cell-based therapies, are most attractive to investors. Diagnostics and bio-IT also scored well. “Many rounds of financing in 2015 – whether private or on the stock exchange – cover one of these areas,” stresses Wirsching. German biotech companies therefore have no problems in benefitting from the boom in these fields – if they manage to draw attention to themselves. Spectacular deals by RNA specialists Curevac (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and cell technology experts from Stage Cell Therapeutics (Juno Therapeutics) made headlines in 2015, but several million dollar pharma deals (Phenex with Baxter, BioNTech with Eli Lilly and Sanofi) also advanced the German industry into the international spotlight.