Hungary maintains firm hold on biotechnology
A recent survey by EuropaBio and Ventura Valuation shows how Hungary's development of the region's biotechnology sector remains strong. Included in the survey were 12 new EU Member States, along with Croatia and Turkey.
The Hungarian engineer Károly Ereky first coined the term biotechnology in 1919 as 'the use of biological methods, assets [and] processes for industrial, technical and research purposes'. Experts say Hungary was home to biotechnology before World War II when Hungarians produced acetic acid in large scales. Hungary was also the first country to produce vitamin B12 at an industrial level, and it was the first to use bacteria-based enzymes to produce beer.
A total of 260 biotech companies were featured in the survey. The majority of these companies are located in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Poland, and most are active in general research and manufacturing. Up to 20% of the firms are involved in diagnostics, and 19% perform analytical work. Still on the lower end of the scale, but growing, is bioinformatics at 8%.
Over 10,000 people are currently employed in this sector - 1,900 of them work in research and development (R&D). Combined turnover was more than EUR 345 million in 2008, and EUR 19 million of this was in R&D.
As regards Hungary, more than 1,000 people work at 77 companies, and 40% of this workforce is involved in R&D. Hungary is home to strong diagnostic and analytical research centres. However, general research and bioinformatics also play a central role in the country's biotech sector. Up to EUR 5 million has been invested in biotechnology.
The survey also showed that the creation of a single and consistent framework in the EU would benefit the biotechnology and health sectors. Experts have also said that Hungary is an ideal place for life sciences companies seeking to further expand their operations in the region.
In another development, the fifth joint call for translational projects of the EUROTRANS-BIO (ETB) initiative is open and all proposals must be submitted by 1 February 2010. ETB, established as an ERA-NET project and backed by the EU, targets cross-border partnerships between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their strategic partners, improvement and acceleration in technology transfer, stronger European efforts, and sustainable industrial development, particularly for biotechnology.
The initiative is shared between governmental research, development and innovation (RDI) agencies in Austria, in the Belgian areas of Flanders and Wallonia, in Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, and in the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Madrid (Spain).
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Data Source Provider: EuropaBio; Ventura Valuation
Document Reference: Based on information from EuropaBio and Ventura Valuation
Programme or Service Acronym: FP6-INTEGRATING, FP6, FP6-COORDINATION
Subject Index : Biotechnology; Coordination, Cooperation; Innovation, Technology Transfer; Scientific Research
CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities.