This week I am having the pleasure of attending the 2019 BIO International Convention hosted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The biggest global event of its kind, this international convention brings together stakeholders from across the biotechnologies. Whether it be from the health, agricultural or industrial sector, anyone who is anyone in biotech is in Philadelphia this week.
Every year I come to the Convention I am struck by the sheer growth in numbers. More participants; more international delegations; more interest in biotech. And every year I read how more and more countries are launching dedicated policies to build their biotech capacities. Yet while ambition and national interest is growing, there has not been a similar upsurge in actual biotechnology outputs.
Why is this?
I have spent the vast majority of my academic and professional life trying to understand the interaction – or usually lack thereof – between governmental ambitions and real-world outputs. Going from panel to panel and meeting to meeting, I am struck by the number of times the age-old question of incentivizing multinational investment and technology transfer is coming up:
– How can we get more companies to come and invest in our country?
– How can we build and improve our biotechnology capacity?
– Will multinational investment come if we build another technopark?
– Or perhaps if we offer a special incentive?
There’s the old adage in academia – ‘publish or perish’. My research firm Pugatch Consilium has just finalized the sixth edition of Building the Bioeconomy – a how-to guide on building the biotech sector now covering 44 countries – it’s becoming even clearer to me that the only way countries can really make progress on their biotech ambitions is through continuous and wholesale reform. Examining 30 different indicators ranging from public policy inputs to biotechnology outputs that together provide a full and detailed measure of the complete biotechnology environment for all countries included, our study finds that economies that have the right policy framework and create positive, incentive based environments tend to be the most successful in achieving strong biotechnology outputs.
To build a world-class biotechnology capacity – whether it be ag-bio, biopharma, biofuels or all of the above – countries need to do two things. First, reform efforts need to be comprehensive, including in key areas like intellectual property rights, the regulatory environment and technology transfer. It’s not enough just to invest more in R&D or award more PhDs. Second, countries need patience. Biotechnology is a high-tech field. Like Rome, no biotech sector can be built in a day.
We will try and address some of these issues at a panel discussion later this morning, with a focus on the biopharmaceutical industry. Titled There is $200B in Global Investment in the Biopharmaceutical Sector Each Year. Who’s Getting It and Why? we have a great line-up of speakers from both the public and private sector, all eager and willing to share their experiences and viewpoints. I have my perspective, but I am eager to learn and hear from the practitioners on the ground, the people who make the actual decisions and policies around the world.
Come join the discussion.
To access the sixth edition of Building the Bioeconomy please visit: our Research & Analysis Reports Page
To access details about today’s panel discussion please click here: https://mybio.org/event/member/564471
*Professor Pugatch is the IPKM Professor of Valorisation, Entrepreneurship and Management at the University of Maastricht and Managing Director of Pugatch Consilium, a boutique research consultancyShare