Source: NESTAReport prepared for NESTA by Technology Greenhouse Ltd
Extract from Executive Summary:
The UK Government has identified industrial biotechnology (IB) as a key driver of wealth creation in the 21st century and in November 2007 it established the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Growth Team (IB-IGT). In May 2009, the IB-IGT presented a major report to government (‘IB-2025’) which estimated that IB could add £4-12 billion per year to the UK economy by 2025. In order to capitalise on this opportunity, UK companies will need to raise finance to invest in the industrial and commercial development of IB products.
Building on the pioneering work of the IBIGT, NESTA commissioned this research to examine the corporate funding environment for IB in the UK two years on. It involved an in-depth survey of selected participants working in this nascent sector. The output from the interviews is summarised into a series of common themes. Based on these themes, a number of conclusions were drawn regarding the current status of the UK IB sector and ad hoc recommendations developed for steps which could lead to an improved financing environment (Key Findings).
At the broadest level of categorisation, biotechnology can be divided into ‘Healthcare’ and ‘Industrial’ segments. For the purposes of this research, the industrial biotechnology (IB) segment has been sub-divided by product into four categories: chemicals and materials, bio-energy and biofuels, waste to energy and waste remediation, and enhanced food production.
The leading country internationally in IB is the US. Within Europe, Germany is well ahead of all other countries. The UK competes in the next tier, most notably with Switzerland and Holland, which is an improvement on the position the UK has historically occupied. In Asia, both India and China are increasingly active. Brazil is also making significant progress, particularly where sugar is used as a feedstock.
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