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Biotech growth needs support

Centres for excellence and a pan-European stock market need to be created to support the growth of biotech, European associations argue.

Centres for excellence and a pan-European stock market need to be created to support the growth of biotech, European industry associations have argued.

Speaking at the launch of BioImpact - the first scientific study to assess the impact of biotechnology-derived medicines on the quality of life and life expectancy of patients - France Biotech and EuropaBio called for the development of real and effective biotechnology industrial policies to integrate research, development and biomanufacturing.

Creating centres for excellence in biotech research would bring together academic, clinical and private research, the associations said: “Only centres with a critical mass and an international visibility will be able to attract industrial research, biomanufacturing units or young talented researchers from India or China for example.”

They also argued that a pan-European stock market was “indispensable” for the growth of biotech companies that need “several hundred million euros in capital” to become profitable.

“It would be a pity to see our best SMEs bought out by overseas companies or settle abroad due to a lack of a stock market where they could raise enough money to finance their development,” the associations continued.

The BioImpact study found that the socio-economic impact of biotechnology is “highly significant” with 190 medicines and vaccines already available and more than 400 therapeutic products under development in 2004.

Further data revealed that the biotech industry is also able to offer new and more efficient therapeutic weapons for niche products and diseases and enables large-scale production techniques for better medical coverage.

Meanwhile, the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) has welcomed the findings of a report on pre-emption. The report, by Paul Myners, reviewed the ability of certain public companies, including bioscience companies, to raise finance from the capital markets and concluded that the current blanket approach was not working as intended.

Aisling Burnand, chief executive of the BIA said: “It is extremely positive that this important report has confirmed that there is an issue with the current pre-emption guidelines for UK bioscience companies. It affects their ability to raise finance from the capital markets and thus their ability to progress the development of their businesses.”

30th September 2008

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