Biotechnologies are technologies that utilize living organisms such as bacteria, yeast, plant and animal cells or parts thereof to develop products and processes.
Defined in 2009 by the European Community, key technologies are real enabling technologies for many industries, providing, through their myriad and diverse applications, answers to the increasingly urgent needs of modern society in the fields of health, environment, agriculture, food and sustainable development.
A recent study commissioned by EY suggests that the European biotechnology market will triple in size between now and 2028, creating value and new opportunities. The EU estimates that every euro invested in the bioeconomy will generate €10 of added value over the next 10 years. In addition, it is estimated that each person employed in the biotech sector creates another 5 jobs in related industries; in traditional industries, the ratio is a low 1 to 1.5.
All these figures confirm the enormous potential of this technology in terms of economic opportunities, growth and employment.
Today, modern biotechnology, as it improves and develops, is a tool for achieving goals that were unthinkable just a few years ago: it can provide decisive cures for diseases for which there were no effective treatments, offer personalized therapy and timely diagnosis, and improve plant varieties while preserving biodiversity. In addition, one can work on developing a production system based on primary sources alternative to petroleum, create eco-friendly products and processes with less or zero environmental impact, to name a few of the countless applications of these extraordinary technologies.
Biotechnology companies by application area
In this variable, the weight of biotechnology for healthcare remains a priority with 74% of the total volume, but the last two years have seen a renewed expansion of predominantly bioeconomy applications (industrial and agricultural), with growth rates exceeding 30% for both application areas in the 2021-2022 biennium, reaching more than a quarter of biotechnology turnover with a share of more than 25% of the total volume in 2021 and further growth in 2022.
While the activities of biotech companies are still heavily concentrated in the health sector (just under 50%), the period from 2014 to 2021 will see an increase in the share of companies developing biotech applications for industry and the environment, demonstrating the driving role they play in the bioeconomy since 2014.
Also when analyzed by size class, the share of micro or small companies exceeds 82% of the total, while large companies (more than 250 employees) represent just under 8% of the total analyzed population.