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Sunday, 16th October 2011

Financing Industrial Biotechnology in the UK

Source: National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)

From Executive Summary:

The UK Government has identified industrial biotechnology (IB) as a key driver of wealth creation in the 21st century and in November 2007 it established the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Growth Team (IB-IGT). In May 2009, the IB-IGT presented a major report to government (‘IB-2025’) which estimated that IB could add £4-12 billion per year to the UK economy by 2025. In order to capitalise on this opportunity, UK companies will need to raise finance to invest in the industrial and commercial development of IB products....

The leading country internationally in IB is the US. Within Europe, Germany is well ahead of all other countries. The UK competes in the next tier, most notably with Switzerland and Holland, which is an improvement on the position the UK has historically occupied. In Asia, both India and China are increasingly active. Brazil is also making significant progress, particularly where sugar is used as a feedstock.

The total number of significant and active UK participants in all components of the IB value chain comprises fewer than 100 organisations. Less than 30 of these are indigenous companies with a hands-on engagement in the practical commercialisation of IB and the majority of these indigenous companies employ fewer than 20 people. There are UK SMEs active in almost all relevant areas of IB but in almost no cases are these recognised as world leaders. A dysfunctional financing base which starves UK SMEs of capital has played a critical role in limiting the development of the UK’s IB companies.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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