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THE ITALO-AMERICAN FORUM, LAYING A BRIDGE FOR ITALIAN BIOTECH AND NANOTECH INDUSTRIES
Aware that the United States present the next frontier for the Italian biotechnology and nanotechnology industries, the ICE (Italian Institute for Foreign Trade) has planned a two-day event dedicated to the development of collaboration opportunities between the two sectors, to be held at the beginning of November. An Italy-USA Forum on the sector will be held on 6 and 7 November in Boston, at the Boston Harbour Hotel, held in partnership with the local Italian Consulate, Assobiotec associations (www.assobiotec.it) and Airi Nanotec It (www.nanotec.it). The choice of location for the event is not casual: the Massachusetts city is one of the most advanced areas of the world for scientific research in biotech and nanotech. In fact it is home to 280 firms and bodies (among which academic and research institutes know the world over, such as the MIT, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and the New England Medical Center) that produce around 8% of the pipeline.
The biotechnologies sector is relatively new in Italy: it can count 228 firms, of which 96 have been founded since 2000 (42%), as is shown by the latest Assobiotec report ‚ÄúBiotechnologies in Italy 2008‚ÄĚ. In a sector dominated by healthcare firms (168, 74% of the total) typical players are small businesses (75% of the total). The sector provides 26 thousand jobs, of which 6 thousand are in the research and development area, and received investments of than 1,300 million Euros were dedicated last year (+9% per year). That is the equivalent of more than a quarter of the overall sector turnover recorded in 2008, of 4,800 million Euros (+11% on 2007).
The ICE initiative, which comes as part of the 2007 Made in Italy Special Promotion Program, is aiming at a market in which the biotech industry has reached considerable maturity: in the United States this industry was born in the 70s, thanks to pioneering activities in San Francisco and Boston, and today North America can count more than 1,400 firms (300 of which are quoted on the stock exchange), more than 130 thousand jobs and a capitalisation of approximately 400 billion dollars. In 2007 the sector obtained the approval of the Food and Drug Administration for 69 new pharmaceutical products.
The USA, however, is also the unchallenged leader in the nanotechnology sector, in which approximately a third of global investment is placed. National Science Foundation forecasts predict that in the next few years the nanotechnology sector will provide work for around 350 thousand people, including chemical, petrochemical and material engineers, in addition to 180 thousand life science engineers. Italy, which cannot boast the same dimensions, still holds a place in the global scenario due to the internationalisation of Made in Italy research results. The latest snapshot of the sector, Airi Nanotec It‚Äôs second census, recorded that of the 6,989 scientific publications made between 2002 and 2005, nearly all (95%) were published in international magazines.
Precisely with the aim of confirming the Italian industries‚Äô capacity to launch itself on a global level, the Forum will promote forms of business partnerships, on the basis of innovative projects and technologies proposed by Italian participants, and develop integrated technological cooperation between the two countries in the form of technological transfers between businesses, universities and research centres. The event will include both in-depth seminars and operative sessions, with B2B and B2R meetings organised between businesses and research centres from the two nations, and company visits.