The biotechnology sector is booming across the globe, with revenues of the worlds publicly traded biotech companies growing by 18 per cent in 2005.
And while the US sector is maturing, new opportunities are rapidly emerging across Asia-Pacific and elsewhere. In fact, revenues reached an all-time high last year of $63.1 billion, according to Ernst & Young.
The accountancy firm says that the European biotechnology sector has emerged from a lengthy restructuring period with double-digit revenue growth and the second-strongest financing year on record, with 3.2 billion in capital raised. The pipelines of Europes publicly traded biotech companies increased by 28 per cent, with strong growth in late-stage development.
This comes just as the World Trade Organisation confirmed a ruling against the EU in a case brought by the US and other nations against a de facto moratorium on genetically modified products.
Despite continued consumer reluctance to embrace the technology therefore, Europe is therefore moving ahead with GM technology. The EC recently adopted an overview of the state of implementation of national co-existence measures.
Simon Barber, director of the plant biotechnology unit at EuropaBio - the European association for bioindustries, said that co-existence of GM and non-GM crops is already a reality in countries such as Spain.
In Asia-Pacific meanwhile, performance of the biotechnology sector outpaces the rest of the world, with a scorching 46 per cent increase in revenues and significant progress toward profitability. Government emphasis on biotech as a strategic priority and a focus on strategic niches is helping countries competitiveness.
Indeed, foreign companies are increasingly drawn to the region with growing drug markets, economic liberalisation, and stronger intellectual property protections.
And for the third consecutive year, the US biotechnology sector is delivering strong product approvals 32 new product approvals, including 17 first-time approvals and solid financial results.
The US industry continues to approach aggregate profitability, and Canada is showing robust growth.
Ernst & Young has been tracking the progress of biotechnology for two decades. Beyond Borders: Global Biotechnology Report 2006 from the group's Global Biotechnology Centre marks the 20th anniversary of the company's annual report providing data, in-depth analysis, market insights, and key trends for the biotechnology sector, and provides a special timeline charting the industrys long-term evolution.