Twelfth Successful CEO & CFO Meeting Held in Hamburg
The boards of biotechnology companies have reaffirmed their will to shape the further development of the biotech industry as an economically sound and innovative sector. At the twelfth CEO & CFO Meeting of the biotechnology sector, the most important meeting of its kind in Germany, over forty innovative companies presented details on business strategies and the latest developments in firms and products in Hamburg on 25 and 26 November. The topics included new diagnostic tests, the results of the development of innovative cancer medications and new types of cell therapies, and products for sustainable industrial production. The biotechnology sector in Germany already provides innovative products and services for the central areas of our day-to-day lives.
During the plenary lectures to an audience of over 100 board members and managing directors of biotechnology companies, as well as sector experts, the significance of equity capital in the form of venture capital (VC) as the most important source of funding for the primarily small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) became clear. The provision of VC to fund research and development work (R&D) is essential.
However, the major drop in funding that has constantly widened for several years has delayed the development of innovations. VC investments in German biotechnology have continually declined since the middle of this decade. While the figures for the first three quarterly periods of this year look somewhat better once again at a cumulative investment volume of around 500 million euro, most of this capital was provided by so-called “family offices”, from which only a few of the large number of innovative companies benefited.
During the CEO & CFO Meeting, various models for improving the parameters for innovative SMEs were discussed. For example, private sector investments in R&D could be facilitated by loss carry-forward irrespective of income or tax rebates in cases of reinvestment of profits (rollover). The innovative companies themselves rely on unlimited retention of loss carry-forward becoming possible, as well as on the abolition of minimum taxation and the granting of tax credits in certain cases.
“Investors and companies are still waiting for a clear positive and strong signal from politics,” said Peter Heinrich, Chairman of the Board of BIO Deutschland. He emphasised the importance of innovations provided by small and medium-sized enterprises, which create new products and help to safeguard skilled jobs. Heinrich pointed out that Germany had recently started the transformation of its economy to that of a knowledge-based bio-economy in the form of the national research strategy by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BioEconomy 2030. He added, “Innovations from biotechnology are essential for this and they are mostly developed by SMEs. Without the necessary signals from the Federal Government, there is a risk that the economic location of Germany as a “land of ideas” will be at a disadvantage.”
The CEO & CFO Meeting was supported this year by West LB AG as the main sponsor, as well as by Booz & Co., Deutsche Börse AG and Ernst & Young GmbH as topic sponsors.