Increasing the utility of university based bioscience research - trends in Norway and Sweden
Magazine article, 2005
A European strategy for life science and biotechnology produced by the commission in 2002 and 2003 preceded national bioscience strategies published recently in Norway and Sweden. This article summarizes these strategies and compares them with some current trends and visions in the area of utilizing bioscience research in the two countries.
In the European strategy , bioscience was placed in the frontline being seen as the next wave in the knowledge economy after information technology. Key elements in the strategy are:
- Developing bioscience education
- Improving the intellectual property system
- Facilitating the access to capital
- Networking for the stakeholders
- Increase the proactive role for the public authorities
- Responding to a global challenge
- Implement the strategy coherently and further develop the strategy
In the 19th annual provocative report "Beyond borders", Ernst & Young describes the situation as not so favorable in Europe as compared to the rest of the world.
In summary the bioscience industry in Europe is considered to recover and is now better positioned to move forward - but remains restricted by fundamental European issues.
As can be seen in figure 1, the European number of bioscience companies is at least as high as in the US. However, there are significant differences in both size and maturity. The biotech industry is generally becoming more global and more competitive. In terms of financial figures, the industry is dominated by the activities in the US. However, Canada and Europe are catching up, driven by strong strategies. The major advantages for younger companies are the available market and resources strengths from around the world.
Nevertheless, there is a still a concern around valuation and financing, where most capital and early financing is available in the US. The amounts of available funds have according to the Ernst & Young report not grown in Europe for a while. A key concern is still to build sustainable companies around experienced management teams and good products. In Europe more companies are built around a single good product idea rather than a product portfolio. Many such early stage companies are struggling to avoid the much feared "wash-out" by keeping the initially spent cash as low as possible with a non optimal development as a result..