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Moderate growth

In 2007, the German biotechnology sector was marked by moderate growth. For the first time, turnover climbed over two billion euros (+14%) and research and development expenditure reached one billion euros (+8%).

Main areas of activity in dedicated biotechnology companies (figure:biotech.de)
On top of this, the number of employees showed a slight plus. These are the central findings of the latest company survey carried out by the information platform biotechnologie.de on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) in the spring of this year. As with previous years, the survey complies with the guidelines laid out by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development providing a comprehensive overview of the economic situation
of the German biotech landscape.

Altogether, there are 496 dedicated biotechnology companies in Germany.
As regards company size, a majority of 86% is still very small. 43% of biotech firms employ less than 10 people, and a further 43% employ up to 50 people. This distribution is largely unchanged from the previous year.
On the other hand, the number of companies that employ over 100 people has risen almost one third from 20 to 26, indicating that there is a small group of growing and prospering companies with increasing maturity. In contrast, the number of companies with more than 50 employees is unchanged, remaining at about 64 (2006:65).

The outcome of the BioRegio competition is reflected in the current distribution of companies, where three of the four largest biotechnology clusters can be found in the winning regions – Munich, Rhine-Neckar (Heidelberg) and Rhineland (Cologne).

“Red” biotechnology remains the most important segment

The main activities of the biotechnology companies are little changed compared to the previous year. 216 companies (44%) develop new medicines or diagnostic tests for the field of human or animal medicine. Thus, health or “red” biotechnology remains the most important industry segment.

An almost equal number of firms undertake activities that are not focused on one particular sector. Thus, 196 companies (40%) are defined by the OECD as being involved in non-specific applications of biotechnology. Included in this category are companies that exclusively or predominantly provide services for the biotechnology industry or are suppliers for biotech firms. Companies that carry out contract-based production of biological molecules without conducting any development themselves are also included in this category. This is the second most important segment of the sector, and will likely soon be as significant as medical biotechnology.

Expenditure on research and development climbed

In 2007, expenditure on research and development (R&D) also climbed. In total, biotechnology firms invested about one billion euros in their R&D activities, 8% more than in the previous year. This increase is due in particular to the greater number of clinical studies undertaken by drug developers that are reaching more advanced phases. This, again, is a sign of the growing maturity of the
sector.
Main areas of activity in dedicated biotechnology companies (figure: biotech.de)
Main areas of activity in dedicated biotechnology companies (figure: biotech.de)

The total number of employees slightly increased

Although the number of companies remains largely unchanged from the previous year, the total number of employees showed a slight increase in 2007. Thus, the 496 dedicated biotech companies had 14,360 employees on their books, a growth of 1.5% on the previous year.
Furthermore, 15,210 of the total figure are employed in the biotechnology-related business areas of pharmaceutical, chemical or agricultural companies, a slight increase again of 2.8% on 2006. With this, the total number employed in commercial biotechnology in Germany is 29,570, 2.1% more than the previous year, and slowly approaching the 30,000 mark.

Source: biotechnologie.de - 16.05.08
Website address: https://www.biooekonomie-bw.de/en/articles/news/moderate-growth