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2006 is, according to some commentators, the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the modern biotechnology era: the founding of the San Francisco firm, Genentech in 1976. Genentech is now a subsidiary of the European pharmaceutical and diagnostics firm, Hoffmann-La Roche, a consequence of biotechnology �following the money� in the early 1990s. At that time, Genentech was running out of money to fund its late-stage development compounds, even though the company already had a number of products on the market including the clot-busting drug, tissue plasminogen activator. Roche stepped in, left Genentech relatively untouched, allowed it to get on with innovating, and is now reaping the financial benefits of blockbuster drugs such as Herceptin.
Nearly 15 years on from the original Roche-Genentech deal, it is the European innovating companies that are having to face the more stringent financial strictures. Even though total equity financings in Europe were up 44% in 2004 from 2003 and money raised through venture capital up a massive 41% from the 2003 figure, European companies still had access only to a fifth of the private equity finance that US companies had. Through the public equity markets, US companies raised 10 times as much money as their European competitors who struggled to raise sufficient investor interest in markets, too that are still mainly localised and inward-looking. European biotechnology is not, in general, sufficiently mature to attract the kind of substantial debt finance that is currently sustaining the growth-by-acquisition of parts of the US biotech industry.
This study identified 2,163 European biotechnology companies whose primary commercial activity fell within the definition of biotechnology outlined in the Methodology Appendix.

Additional information

Authors: No author stated, EuropaBio, Brussels (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: Brussels, EuropaBio, 2006, 42 pp, Free of charge
Availability: Available free of charge online at:
Record Number: 200618619 / Last updated on: 2006-07-10
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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