GEN highlights emerging biotechnology clusters

May 5, 2009

Although Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, and Cambridge (U.K.) are always near the top of most biotechnology cluster lists, other areas around the world are starting to pop up on the life science radar screen, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). These newly emerging clusters are trying to emulate their more established regional brethren whose success was based on the ability to tap into a sound venture capital base, battle-tested management, and a culture that values entrepreneurialism, according to the May 1 issue of GEN.

"The fact that so many countries are now not only developing but exhibiting life science expertise across a broad range of disciplines vividly illustrates the truly global nature of the enterprise," says John Sterling, Editor in Chief of GEN.

China, of course, represents one of the fastest growing parts of the biotech world. The People's Republic of China has declared the development of a vibrant bioindustry to be one of its top priorities, and several biotech parks have emerged. Shanghai and Beijing are home to the largest groupings of biotech companies.

Brazil, with strong biotech centers in Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, has also caught the attention of many veteran biotech thought leaders. The sector here is dominated by small to medium-sized companies focused on agriculture, although some small innovative drug firms exist. Collaborations tend to be with Brazilian universities and with foreign companies, but not with other Brazilian companies, and usually are for services like marketing or for access to information. Private financing remains challenging, and public funds are limited.

In the U.S., additional emerging cluster contenders include Madison, WI; Orange County, CA; and Houston, TX. Florida and Colorado are also catching the eye of a number of biotech observers.

In Europe, Barcelona and Ghent are benefiting from significant government interest and proximity to leading universities. And Scotland, whose biocluster is composed of more than 620 life science companies, is one of the continent's largest and fastest-growing life science clusters—generating more than $4.4 billion annually.

Also covered in the GEN article are emerging clusters in Australia, Canada, France, India, Israel, Japan, and Singapore.

More information: www.genengnews.com/articles/chitem.aspx?aid=2883

Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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