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Brussels, 23 November 2000

Consolidating the European biotechnology industry
Biotech & Finance Forum, 30.11-1.12.2000

Keywords: biotechnology, innovation

The success story of the European biotechnology industry continues. However, this progress needs to be consolidated to achieve sustained growth. Therefore, the third Annual Conference of the Biotech & Finance Forum brings together stakeholders from research, industry and finance to facilitate new alliances, mergers and partnerships. The programme includes presentations by 24 biotech companies, both start-up and established, giving them the opportunity to attract financial backing or partnerships. The conference is organised by the Research DG of the European Commission and the European Association of Securities Dealers (EASD) on 30 November and 1 December at Robinson College in Cambridge, UK.

A press conference will be held on 30 November at 16:30.

The biotechnology industry is one of the most dynamic economic sectors in Europe. Over the last four years this sector has experienced a growth of 131% in the number of firms, 211% in the number of employees and 264% in revenues. Although the speed of this development is impressive this success must be consolidated. If European biotechnology is to become highly competitive on the world market, industry needs to create greater value and critical mass through strategic alliances, partnerships, networks or mergers between biotech companies. Comparison with the United States shows that Europe now has an equivalent number of companies. However, US companies generate five times more income and three times more employment.

After focussing on mobilisation and entrepreneurship at the first and second conferences, the programme of the forthcoming third Annual Conference of the Biotech & Finance Forum will enable the key players from finance and the European biotech industry to explore the future of the biotech industry in Europe and the business and finance opportunities existing today. A new element in the programme is the ‘Elevator Pitches’, in which 24 companies (established or start-up) will present themselves to the audience, in just one minute, prior to more detailed presentations.

The aim of the conference is to “facilitate consolidation in the biotech sector in Europe and to reinforce the virtuous circle of research, industry, finance stakeholders and a new generation of bio-entrepreneurs that can start-up and flourish”, said Dr. Bruno Hansen, Director of the Life Sciences Research Directorate of the European Commission.

The socio-economic goals of the Biotech & Finance Forum are strongly supported by the European Commission’s research programme ‘Quality of life and management of living resources’ and its ‘Cell factory’ key action in which three quarters of the projects have at least one industrial partner. To date the programme has supported 80 projects in this area, with funding amounting to EUR 136 million contributing to the total project costs of EUR 230 million.

It is expected that the successful exploitation of biotech research will be further stimulated by the creation of the European Research Area, which is being put forward by the European Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin. This new political concept will, among other things, allow the co-ordination of European and national research policies and activities.

The press conference on Thursday 30 November will take place at 16:30 and will be given by Mr Alan Johnson, Minister for Competitiveness at the UK Dept of Trade and Industry, Mr. Andrew Beeson, representing the EASD and Dr. Bruno Hansen, representing the Research DG of the European Commission. Journalists interested in participating are invited to contact Stéphane Hogan (details below).

Full details of the conference’s programme and downloadable registration papers are available on:

For further information, please contact:

Philippe de Taxis du Poët, Quality of Life programme, Research DG  
Tel :+32.2.295.40.43, E-mail: Philippe.De-Taxis-Du-Poet@ec.europa.eu

Stéphane Hogan, Quality of Life programme, Research DG
 Tel : +32.2.296.29.65, E-mail : Research Contact

Katie Morris, Secretary General, EASD  
Tel: + 32.2.227.65.65, E-mail: katie.morris@easd.com

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PRESS RELEASES | 23.11.2000