Italian Biotech: A Vital and Dynamic Industry
The biotech industry in Italy is vital and is showing a constant growth.
About 700 biotech firms are currently based and doing research and business in Italy. The biotech turnover exceeds €12 billion, with an average annual increase of 5% between 2014 and 2018.
80% of the Italian biotech industry is made up of small and micro companies, which have been a driving force in the growing dynamics for the entire field. More than 50 new innovative start-ups, active in the biotech field, have been registered between 2017 and 2019. In total, innovative biotech start-ups represent about 20% of the total sector.
These figures are taken from the report on the Italian biotech industry, prepared in cooperation by Assobiotec (Italian Association for the Development of Biotechnology, part of Federchimica) and ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) and published in May 2020. The analysis offers an update on the current Italian biotech industry in 2019.
On the basis of this data, the Italian biotech industry proves to be a growing field with a number of companies which has consolidated in time, but should strengthen in terms of size, also in order to improve its competitiveness on an international level. The R&D activities are a true strong point, with real excellence in all biotech fields of application.
The biotech research intensity is above average when compared to the overall Italian industry. Although the biotech industry makes up only 0.02% of the total national companies, its biotech R&D investments represent 3.4% of the total Italian business enterprise R&D investments.
49% of the biotech companies in Italy are mainly involved in human healthcare, 30% are active in the production and/or development of products and services for industrial or environmental applications, 8.6% in agricultural and veterinary applications, and 12% of the companies are working in the genomics, proteomics and enabling technologies (GPET) application field. The same exact field distribution can be found among the innovative biotech start-ups.
The biotechnologies underpin the innovation capacity of the bioeconomy, intended as a system that utilizes terrestrial and marine biological resources, in addition to waste, to produce fuel and energy products as well as to provide inputs for industrial production processes. Bioeconomy’s importance over the total economic activities in Italy has grown from 8.8% over the national total in 2008 to 10.1% in 2017.
Two thirds of the Italian biotech turnover are being generated by foreign capital companies, which are mainly active in the human health industry. The Italian capital companies instead, generate more than half of the biotech turnover in the industrial and environmental field of application, reinvigorating the traditional chemical specialization of the national productive fabric. (mr)
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