Biotechnology as applied to food and plants has been overlooked by the leading countries in this sector – the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries.
For this reason, "Spanish biotechnology should focus on these two fields of specialisation, since it is a growing business sector and a market niche in which Spain could be competitive", Isidre March-Chorda, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Department of Business Management in the Faculty of Economics at the UV, tells SINC.
The purpose of this research, which has been published in the latest edition of the journal Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, was to carry out a detailed study of the behaviour of Spanish biotechnology companies from 2004 to 2005.
The researchers created a database using information from the Spanish Genome Foundation and the ASEBIO Foundation, and identified 102 companies and their economic-financial data and a series of factors to analyse for the study.
According to the study, there are two business models. On one side is the long haul model, or the 'biotechnology of discovery model', which is most important internationally and is the leader in the countries which have been pioneers in this industry (the United States and Canada).
"These companies spend 10 or 15 years developing a new drug. At the end of this time they can sell it to a multinational pharmaceutical firm and recover their investment. They make a discovery that has a major impact on the market", explains March-Chorda.
On the other side is the incremental innovation, service-oriented model, which involves lower levels of innovation and risk. It is used by companies that provide diagnosis services and equipment for the medical, surgical and clinical sectors, and is an environment where there is more competition and less differentiation.
Of all the companies analysed, only 16 had the same kind of characteristics as the predominant model in the English-speaking world (15.7% of the whole sample), showing that very few companies in Spain are driven by invention or discovery.
Since 2001, however, biotechnology businesses that operate along the lines of the first business model have been set up in Spain in the field of human health and the search for new biopharmaceutical treatments.
The funding problem
Spain will have to overcome a hurdle in the next few years – the high cost of developing and commercialising new medicines, which the study says stands at around €700 million.
"In Spain we lack the kind of financing system to fund this kind of initiative, in which the risks are high and the development period is very long. This is not the case in the English-speaking world, though, where they have stock exchanges that accept biotech companies and the whole risk capital industry is more more developed", explains the economist.
The problem is that, because less is spent here on R&D, the products developed are less novel, and their market impact is lower, meaning companies have only limited possibilities for growth. March-Chorda says this could be why Spanish biotech companies have not seen their market value take off within a short period of time "as has happened in the English-speaking world".
He concludes: "If large Spanish companies were prepared to invest in this sector, it is likely that more biotechnology companies would be set up along the same lines as the model used in the English-speaking world".
March-Chorda, Isidre, Yague-Perales, Rosa M, Seoane-Trigo, Ramón. "Asymmetric behaviour of biotechnology business patterns in Spain". Technology analysis & strategic management 21 (6): 765-782, 2009.
SINC | EurekAlert!
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences