Solving the debt with biotech
12.06.2012 - Good news! After some thinking, I’ve solved the eurocrisis and saved national investment in biotechnology! As with most people who champion a single Europe, what is going to happen in the eurozone weighs heavily on my mind. Not just because of the surreal and seemingly uncontrollable debt crisis, but also because investment in growth in most European countries has stalled.
Governments are only going to invest again when there’s a market for the products that such investment will deliver.
And governments aren’t investing in biotech, as it doesn’t produce large-scale employment or big shiny things, and it usually doesn’t deliver within an electoral cycle. A nagging voice at the back of my mind has been saying: ‘and why would they?’ If I were a regional government looking to rescue the economy, biotech wouldn’t be high on my list unless there was already significant commercial presence.
You have no idea how guilty writing that just made me feel. But fear not, dear reader, that was just a dark turn of the soul, and now the relentless optimism that drives all people who love biotech has already returned. Here’s the deal. People aren’t buying things from shops, so governments aren’t investing in growth there. But what DO they always need to buy? Easy – medicine, food and energy.
And this is why governments should be investing in biotech – it delivers all of these things and there will always be a market for it, even if people are not buying anything else.
– In medicine, the rush to manage diseases more effectively has huge market pull, and companies literally cannot get products through the pipeline fast enough.
– In energy, Europe has the capacity to lead the world in sustainable, intelligent power generation at local and national levels. Any country leading on this has a global market at their fingertips.
– In food, the easiest sell of all, there are demonstrable returns within an electoral cycle. The role of biotechnology in all steps of the food production chain is a winner, and oddly enough, the global demand for things to eat has not been damaged by the crisis.
So this is the message for national and regional investors in biotechnology: you should be investing each year at a local level to deliver products to a constant global market that gets hungrier as the cost of medicine, food and energy increases. By doing so, you will also establish your country as an intellectual driver behind these key sectors. Healthcare is already well-advanced, but in energy and food technologies, the leads are there for the taking. Significant money advancing biotech delivery – translational centres of excellence, global partnerships with big business and placement of the sectors on the national policy agenda. It can’t fail. Phew – glad we got that sorted. The eurozone will be saved by
biotechnology, and I’ll have something to write about next time. See you then!