Flash Findings: A Global View of Biotechnology

August 13, 2010
OBTN, April 2007, Volume 1, Issue 3

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (www.oecd.org) "is a group of 30 member countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. Best known for its publications and its statistics, its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and innovation."

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FLASH FINDINGS

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (www.oecd.org) “is a group of 30 member countries

sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. Best known for its publications and its statistics,

its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and

innovation.”

According to the OECD Biotechnology Statistics 2006 (http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/51/59/36760212.pdf):

• The United States has the largest number

of biotechnology firms (2,196), followed

by Japan (804) and France (755).

The 15 reporting countries from the European

Union (EU) have a total of 3,154

biotechnology firms.

• Business sector expenditures on biotechnology

R&D are highest in the United States (PPP$ 14,232 million),

accounting for 66.3% of all business sector

biotechnology R&D in the 17 countries

reporting.

• The United States leads with an estimated

75,320 biotechnology R&D employees

in the business sector in 2003,

followed by the United Kingdom with

9,644 R&D employees. Both results are

based on all R&D employees in core biotechnology

firms.

• The United States accounts for 59.7% of

the estimated total of 288,584 biotechnology

employees among the 21 reporting

countries and for 56.9% of the estimated

129,172 biotechnology R&D employees

among 17 reporting countries.

• Sales in the United States in 2001 for

biotechnology goods and services only

was PPP$ 50,472 million, or 41% more

than the total sales in all other reporting

countries combined of PPP$ 35,873

million.

• The majority of biotech firms, 51%, are

active in health, followed by 19% of

firms active in agro-food, 16% active in

the “other” category, and 15% active in

industry-environmental applications.

• Germany and the United States have the

highest activity rate for health applications

(65%), followed by China (63%) and

Denmark (58%). Only 19% of activity is

in health in New Zealand.

• Health applications dominate biotechnology

R&D. Excluding Sweden and

Belgium where the shares are based on

R&D employees, 87% of all estimated

biotechnology R&D expenditures in the

remaining 12 countries reporting are

for health applications, 4% for agrofood

applications, 2% for industrial-environmental

applications, and 7% for

“other” applications.

• In all countries, the majority of biotechnology

R&D investments are focused

on health applications. Almost 90% or

more of biotechnology R&D is for health

applications in the United States (89%),

Iceland (92%), and Ireland (97%). The

lowest share is in Sweden, but this is

partly because health-related biotechnology

employment in the service sector

is assigned to the “other” category.

• The total sales in the 13 countries reporting

is PPP$ 82,852 million. As with

R&D investments, health applications

account for the large majority of the

total at 80%, followed by the “other”

(mostly services) at 9%, agro-food applications

at 6%, and industry-environmental

applications at 5%.

• The share of sales from health applications

of biotechnology is above 80% in

four countries: France (83%), the United

States (87%), Switzerland (88%), and Ireland

(92%). Conversely, the health applications

share is below 60% in Japan

(57%), Israel (52%), and Canada (53%).

• In 2002, more than 5,800 biotechnology

patents were filed at the European

Patent Office (EPO), most of which originated

from the United States (39.9%)

and the European Union (34.5%).

According to the National Science Foundation’s 2006 Science and Engineering Indicators and the CATI-MERIT database,

which collects information on strategic alliances by domestic and multinational firms for technology transfer or joint research

in biotechnology from announcements or articles in newspapers and professional journals:

• The share of all CATI-MERIT alliances

that involve biotechnology has been

increasing over time, from 11% of the

total in 1990 to 53% in 2003.

• Between 2001 and 2003 inclusive, 1,055

reported biotechnology alliances were

included in the CATI-MERIT database.

An alliance can include firms from two

or more of the four countries or regions,

or it can only include domestic firms.

A partner from the United States was

involved in 72.7% of the 1,055 biotechnology

alliances over these three years,

a European partner in 49.7%, a Japanese

partner in 8.2%, and a partner from a

non-triad country in 14.8%.

• The total number of biotechnology alliances

increased from 45 in 1990 to

368 in 2003. The growth in alliances

was greatest for those involving partners

from the United States, where the

number of alliances increased 9.8 times

from 28 in 1990 to 274 in 2003.