The Biotech Sector’s Latest Figures Show Growth despite the Shortage of Capital
The latest figures from the biotechnology sector commissioned on the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research were presented at the German Biotechnology Days in Frankfurt/Main.
The conclusion was that there had been higher turnover, a larger number of employees and an increase in the number of companies – German biotechnology grew again in 2011. However, the sector is concerned about the declining amount of available venture capital. This situation forces companies to make savings. As a result, the firms’ research and development budgets decreased once again in 2011. For the first time since 2006, less than one billion euro (975 million euro) were invested last year, as compared with 1.02 billion euro in 2010.
In contrast to capital investments from the private sector which decreased from 656 million euro in 2010 to only 142 million in 2011, the project funding provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research remained constant at 45 million euro.
“Funding from the Ministry of Education and Research is fundamental to our ability to operate innovative biotechnology companies in Germany. However, we also need improved tax conditions for research and development in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to make the German biotech sector attractive again to international investors and company founders, as the shortage of capital currently poses a threat to our sector’s ability to produce innovations,” underlined Peter Heinrich, Chairman of the Board of BIO Deutschland.
Despite the declining financing figures, more and more products made by German biotech companies are reaching the market. In a survey conducted at the beginning of the year, BIO Deutschland counted 700 biotech products on the market that are made in Germany. These were reflected in the increase in turnover of the 552 German biotech companies (2010: 538) from 2.37 billion euro in 2010 to 2.62 billion euro in 2011. The number of employees in dedicated biotech companies also rose from 15,480 in 2010 to 16,300 in 2011.
However, biotechnological processes are also becoming increasingly important in large-scale industry. The 126 firms active in biotechnology in Germany (2010: 125) are hiring again. The number of skilled staff rose once again in 2011, when there were 17,570 employees; this compares with 17,000 in 2010. The biotechnology sector is constantly growing – a trend that gives grounds for hope that there will also be positive developments in the future.
During the press conference, Andreas Mietzsch (Biocom AG) presented the results of the survey commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Daniela Steinberger, CEO of Biologis GmbH, explained the current situation facing innovative SMEs as regards the current economic policy situation, using her company’s experience during its foundation and consolidation as an example. Peter Heinrich explained the details of the current conditions for the biotech sector at the press conference.
You will find the results of the study as a PDF file (in German only) at www.biodeutschland.org/biothek.html
Further information is available at www.biotechnologie.de