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Biotechnology in Europe - Patents and R&D investments

Biotechnology in Europe - Patents and R&D investments

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Published by dmaproiect
Defining and measuring biotechnology is a challenge for statisticians. There is no single sector of biotechnology which can be easily and clearly distinguished from other technology sectors.
Defining and measuring biotechnology is a challenge for statisticians. There is no single sector of biotechnology which can be easily and clearly distinguished from other technology sectors.

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Published by: dmaproiect on Apr 12, 2010
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in focus
Bernard LIX 
Denmark top in biotechnologypatent applications to EuropeanPatent Office (EPO) per millioninhabitants……………………… 1
OECD definitions ofbiotechnology...........................2
How to measurebiotechnology?.........................2
Protection of biotechnologyinventions..................................3
Biotechnology patenting – EU-27 ranked second worldwide...5
United Kingdom leads in EUbiotechnology R&D investment6
Biotechnology in Europe
Patents and R&D investments
Defining and measuring biotechnology is a challenge for statisticians. There is no single sector of biotechnology which can be easily and clearly distin- guished from other technology sectors. The current publication illustrates different aspects of biotechnology with the help of different kinds of data such as patent applications, R&D intensity and R&D investment.In 2003 Denmark was world leader in biotechnology patent applications to the EPO per million inhabitants, whereas in Europe Germany ranked first 
in abso- lute figures. The United Kingdom was the most active European country in biotechnology R&D investment.This publication sheds light on both the statistical and the legal sides of bio- technology.
Denmark top in biotechnology patent applications to Euro-pean Patent Office (EPO) per million inhabitants
With more than 30 biotechnology patent applications to the EPO per millioninhabitants in 2003 Denmark produced nearly six times the EU-27 average ofpatent applications. At international level, Denmark ranked first, Iceland sec-ond and Israel third. Among the top ten countries, five were EU-27 MemberStates: Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.Figure 1: Biotechnology patent applications to the European Patent Of-fice (EPO) by country, per million inhabitants, EU-27 Member States andselected countries
Source: Eurostat, Patent Statistics
Countries with less than one biotechnology patent application per million inhabitants are notshown.
Manuscript completed on: 09.08.2007Data extracted on: 08.05.2007ISSN 1977-0316Catalogue number: KS-SF-07-100-EN-N © European Communities, 2007
2Statistics in focus
Science and technology
100/2007 _______________________________________________ 
OECD definitions of biotechnology
The OECD has worked on biotechnology statistics for along time now and built up a statistical database on thissubject. In order to be able to collect comparable datathe OECD proposes two closely linked definitions ofbiotechnology: a single and a list-based definition.Whereas the first gives an overall view, the second con-sists of seven different subjects described via severalexamples.OECD definitions of biotechnology
 The single definition 
 The application of science and technology to living or-ganisms, as well as parts, products and models thereof,to alter living or non-living materials for the production ofknowledge, goods and services.
 The list-based definition 
DNA/RNA: genomics, pharmacogenomics, geneprobes, genetic engineering, DNA/RNA sequencing/ synthesis/amplification, gene expression profiling, anduse of antisense technology.Proteins and other molecules: sequencing/syn-thesis/engineering of proteins and peptides (includinglarge molecule hormones); improved delivery methodsfor large-molecule drugs; proteomics, protein isolationand purification, signalling, identification of cell recep-tors.Cell and tissue culture and engineering: cell/tissueculture, tissue engineering (including tissue scaffoldsand biomedical engineering), cellular fusion, vac-cine/immune stimulants, embryo manipulation.Process biotechnology techniques: fermentationusing bioreactors, bioprocessing, bioleaching, biopulp-ing, biobleaching, biodesulphurisation, bioremediation,biofiltration and phytoremediation.Gene and RNA vectors: gene therapy, viral vectors.Bioinformatics: construction of databases on ge-nomes, protein sequences; modelling complex biologi-cal processes, including systems biology.Nanobiotechnology: applies the tools and processesof nano/microfabrication to build devices for studyingbiosystems and applications in drug delivery, diagnos-tics, etc.
Source: OECD
Figure 2 takes a closer look to the biotechnology R&Dintensity in the business enterprise sector (BES) for 17countries worldwide. The R&D intensity is a ratio of theexpenditure in a sector compared with the value addedin the same sector. Iceland was leading by far in 2003,with a result of 1.3 for biotechnology R&D intensity inthe BES. Denmark ranked second with 0.70 and Swit-zerland third with 0.28.Figure 2: Biotechnology R&D intensity (biotech R&Dexpenditure/value added of BES) in the businessenterprise sector by country, selected countries,2003
Source: OECD Biotechnology Statistics, 2006Exceptions to reference year:2004: CH, NZ, KR, DE, ES, IT, PL; 2002: IL, ZA
How to measure biotechnology?
Different aspects of biotechnology can be measuredusing the OECD definitions. Besides patent applicationsand R&D intensity, which are more akin to indicators atmacro-economic level, other indicators go down closerto enterprise level.Biotechnology-active firms are defined as enterprisesengaged in key biotechnology activities such as theapplication of at least one biotechnology technique (asdefined in the box above) to produce goods or services,and/or the performance of biotechnology R&D.Four different biotechnology application fields can bedistinguished: ‘
industrial- environmental 
’ and ‘
’. Health is the main applica-tion field in most of the countries shown in Figure 3,often involving nearly half of all biotechnologically activefirms. In Germany two out of three enterprises occupiedin biotechnology are active in the field of health applica-
 _______________________________________________ 100/2007
Science and technology
Statistics in focus3
tions. The United States and China have comparableshares, with respectively 65% and 63%. At the otherend of the scale, in New Zealand only 19% of biotech-nologically active firms work on health applications, but53% focus on agro-food applications. European bio-technology-active enterprises are less active in the fieldof agro-food applications. In Denmark only 4% and inSwitzerland only 6%, of biotechnology-active firms aredevoted to that field.Industrial-environmental applications of biotechnologyplay a less important role in most European countries.Exceptions are Poland and Finland. 13% of Polish, and25% of Finnish, biotechnology-active firms work in in-dustrial-environmental applications. South Korea ac-counts for 41% of the biotechnology-active enterprisesin this field.The application field ‘Other’ includes bioinformatics, sup-port services that are not included in the three otherfields, and also other applications not classifiable else-where. 52% of Belgian, and 41% of French, biotechnol-ogy-active firms fall under this definition.Figure 3: Biotechnology-active firms by application field and by country, selected countries, 2003
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%BEDKDEIEFRPLFISEUKISNOCHAUCACNILKRNZZAUSHealth Agro-food Industrial-environmental Other
Source: OECD Biotechnology Statistics 2006Exceptions to reference year:2005: NZ; 2004: CH, KR, DE, PL; 2002: IL, ZA; 2001: US
Protection of biotechnology inventions
In the past ten years protection of biotechnology inven-tions has been discussed intensively both at Europeanand at national level. Directive 98/44/EC on the legalprotection of biotechnological inventions was adoptedon 6 July 1998. The Member States were asked to bringinto force the laws, regulations and administrative provi-sions necessary to comply with this Directive not laterthan 30 July 2000.Implementation took longer than the stipulated twoyears in most Member States. However (Table 5), somecountries managed to adapt their legal framework ontime. It must be said that biotechnology inventions are avery sensitive subject. The discussions concerning theDirective induced Member States to think about thelimits of what is patentable and how to treat borderlinecases.Conclusions of the Communication from the Commis-sion on the mid-term review of the Strategy on LifeSciences and Biotechnology (SEC(2007) 441)The Commission will: – Continue the implementation of the action plan up to2010, while putting a specific emphasis on a focusedset of biotech specific priority actions; – Include biotechnology in the implementation of inno-vation strategies; – In cooperation with Member States and stakeholders,improve the implementation of the Strategy.
Source: Brussels, 10.4.2007, COM(2007) 175 final

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