Our research shows that the last two years have provided fresh grounds for hope. The biotech sector’s productivity is still open to question, the business model it’s traditionally relied on is shaky, and there’s been an undeniable geographic shift in the biomedical research base. But Western scientists are as inventive as ever; some biotech companies aren’t just tightening their belts, they’re finding new ways to get funding and add value; and the biopharma community as a whole is trying to pull together. A growing number of biotech and pharma companies are joining forces to tackle the challenges they face with increasingly creative alliances with new partners and in new territories.
If the biotech industry’s contribution to productivity is still questionable, what about the business model on which it’s traditionally relied? We argued two years ago that this model – based as it is on external investment, typically venture capital, in an innovative idea arising from an entrepreneurial source – was collapsing. Again, the news is mixed. Indeed global financial crisis has exacerbated this.