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ITALIAN BIOTECH TAKES ITS CAPACITY FOR INNOVATION TO BIO 2009
Something has changed for “Made in Italy” biotechnology. Thanks to its capacity for innovation, Italian biotech has risen to a challenge that seemed impossible just a few years ago: it is at last on the radar of the big biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and venture capital. This what emerged from the "Biotecnologie in Italia 2009" report, a full scale, up-to-date analysis of the Italian biotech industry that came out in March 2009. So it has just the right credentials to enter the U.S. industry, leader in the sector, ready for the next “BIO International Convention” (convention.bio.org). This event will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia from 18 to 21 May 2009.
The latest information on Italian biotech shows that there are 260 companies active in the sector, of which over 50% were founded after 1999, and among which the majority are dedicated to health care (there are 190, which is 73% of the total). The vast majority are small companies (190), of which most are start-ups (147). The number of employees has reached the 41 thousand mark. Of these, 8,500 work in R&D (up 36% on 2008). Even earnings show a positive trend: sector turnover rose by 24% to 5.4 thousand million euro, thanks to 1.5 thousand million in R&D investment (up 15%).
A healthy industry will therefore be able to draw the attention of specialised operators at this, the most important event globally for the biotechnology sector. Every year the Bio International Convention attracts the most prestigious international companies, universities and research centres and contributes to the development of biotechnology in the most productive environment of all (North America). 22,000 people from 70 different countries attended the last Convention in San Diego in 2008. 14,500 meetings, organised by 6,000 delegates from the medical, agro-business and environmental biotechnology sectors, took place at the California event.
To prepare for Atlanta, the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) has organised a “Sistema Italia” for the fair, at which there will be will be 30 organisations participating, either individually or at ministands organised by regional bodies. The organisations will include Italian sector companies, science and technology agencies and parks representing the principal biotech clusters at the regional level.
The event in Georgia will be an opportunity to present an ever more innovative Italian biotech sector to a specialised scientific, industrial and academic audience. 209 products at the pre-clinical (73) and clinical (136, of which 26 are in Phase I, 55 in Phase II and 55 in Phase III) development stages with therapeutic applications mainly in the areas of antineoplastics and immunomodulators and, to a smaller extent, the central nervous system, dermatology and cardiovascular medicine. There are 49 research projects in the early stages. These represent considerable promise for the coming years and raise the total number of Italian products in the pipeline to 258.