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BIO-EUROPE 2008: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH IN ITALIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY
The biotechnology industry is rapidly expanding both in the United States, where it has already reached a level of maturity, and in Europe, which is still a bit behind. The 14th edition of Bio-Europe, the largest European event in the field of biotechnology, is therefore a strategic opportunity to network with decision-makers in international biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and finance. Field representatives from Italy will also be attending the event, to be held in Mannheim from November 17th -19th 2008. This will be the third time that the ICE (Italian Trade Commission) has coordinated involvement at the German fair.
The 2007 edition of the fair recorded a 50% increase in the number of attendees compared to the previous year: among them were small and medium-sized enterprises, large pharmaceutical organisations, start-up companies, and science and technology parks belonging to the main Italian biotechnology cluster. One-to-one meetings took place over the 21 conferences and workshops organised during the fair and in 194 company presentations (ten by large pharmaceutical organisations, 16 by medium-sized companies and 168 by SMBs). The number of companies participating in the 2007 edition was 1276 (up 22% from 2006).
Bio-Europe is the perfect occasion for the Italian biotechnology industry to lay the groundwork for further consolidation, even internationally. Ambitions based on the findings of surveys in the ‚ÄúBiotechnology in Italy 2008‚ÄĚ annual report, produced by the industry association Assobiotec and consultancy firm Blossom & Company. ‚ÄúAccording to our estimates - said Stefano Milani, CEO of Blossom & Company - 51% of Italian biotechnology enterprises have strong growth prospects‚ÄĚ. For these to materialise, however, the industry needs internationalisation: ‚ÄúThe next challenge - admits Milani - will be to aspire to a leadership role that goes beyond the borders of Italy. And a lot, in this sense, will depend on the ability to innovate by creating business ideas that do not put limits on growth potential and value, by strengthening ties with international networks, developing managerial, scientific and professional skills that are specific to the industry‚ÄĚ.
The most effective publicity, for the time being, is the industry‚Äôs state of health: in the last year Italian technology turnover rose to 4.8 billion Euro (up 11%), against 1.3 billion invested in R&D initiatives. Promising signs in terms of profitability also: the industry‚Äôs Ebit rose by 213%. At the same time, net debt fell by 30% to 1.6 billion Euro. ‚ÄúItalian biotechnology - remarked Roberto Gradnik, chairman of Assobiotec, during the presentation of the last annual report ‚Äď is experiencing a period of great vitality, as shown by the large number of products being developed in the field of health care, currently 84 compared with only 30 at the beginning of 2006‚ÄĚ. Biotechnology in Italy has therefore got what it takes to play an increasing role in Europe, in all the applicable sectors, from health to food farming, from industrial processes to environmental redevelopment. ‚ÄúBut - Gradnik pointed out - the efforts of the professionals must be supported by the institutions if we are to launch a specific promotion strategy‚ÄĚ. In that sense Italy‚Äôs next appearance at Bio-Europe, coordinated by ICE, responds perfectly to the need for more internationalisation of this strategic sector that enriches the ‚ÄúMade in Italy‚ÄĚ industry.