Take a bow biosciences

By Peter Kerr 20/12/2011

A wee while back sticK reported how high tech companies should skite more.

The same can be said for our biological industries (which are also of course high tech).

Because, better late than never, the 2010 Bioscience Industry Report comes with some pretty encouraging news for those making clever use of biology and brains. See the actual report here.

In spite of the global financial crisis (2008) occurring in the middle of the report’s reporting period; 2007-2009, the sector’s shown remarkable growth.

At the same time, the report has taken the opportunity to expand beyond a biotechnology definition – which comes with a bit of implied gene jockeying baggage, whether true or not.

Biosciences is an OECD term — and focuses on primary applications within the bioeconomy (includes animal, foods, and human health, plant and marine), health (includes biomedical science and drug discovery) and the environment (includes bioprocessing and biomanufacturing).

If, using the last report’s biotechnology definition, there had been an additional 45 new companies in the period, while under the biosciences moniker, there were a further 57 organisations.

In all, it reveals that there’s 267 bioscience organisations — growth at a time when worldwide there’s been much contraction.

As the report says, it is difficult to separate out bioscience income and activities from other biological exports, but then it delves into the sector’s entrails, reveals that between the previous report in 2007 and this one, net profit for dedicated bioscience organisations (an estimated 108) has more than tripled to over $121 million.

It also gives a few observations about the industry — one not surprising one being that venture capital in the $5-8 million region is hard to obtain.

But angel investment has been a standout.

The report takes the opportunity to give a swerve to rules around intellectual property, particularly the fact that unlike other investments, the whole of the price of a patent sale (for example) is taxed. The costs of acquiring the knowledge, or legal fees associated with obtaining the patent aren’t taken into account.

All in all, the report’s a nice little reminder that the backbone of New Zealand’s economy has a biological base — and biosciences is the addition of brains to this base.

Sure, we need to be much cleverer about what and how we derive value — be it specific active ingredients, energy (with LanzaTech as the poster child) or the health area.

But, if there’s one thing the report does indicate, it is certainly that a little bit of bragging is due.

0 Responses to “Take a bow biosciences”

  • More bragging please, which will hopefully help the sector grow so that there’ll be jobs for me when I finish my PhD.

    [fingers crossed]