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Italian Biotech Industry

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Guest Author
April 19, 2021
  • The Italian biotech industry has recorded a growth in all the main economic indicators, with a total number of companies which has stabilized at around 700 units. At the same time, a major spread of the activities on the national territory has been observed, even though the emergence of new areas, with respect to the typical settlements (north western area and central Italy) will occur following the dimensional growth of the productive fabric.
  • The overall investment in R&D activities for all the companies taken into account have reached 2.3 billion euros, while the investments in biotech R&D exceed 770 million euros. The latter recorded a 7% and 25% growth with respect to 2016 and 2014, respectively.
  • With respect to the manufacturing industry, the share of the biotech R&D investments on the biotech turnover is way larger: 4 times larger for the biotech companies; 9 times larger for the dedicated biotech R&D firms; 20 times larger for the nationally controlled dedicated biotech R&D firms.
  • 49% of the biotech companies is mainly involved in the human health field, which historically speaking, was the first industry to drive the development of the biotechnologies. 39% of the biotech companies is involved in the production and/or development of products and services for industrial or environmental applications (29.9%) or for the veterinary, agricultural and zootechnic applications (8.6%) and represent one of the main innovation incentive for the bioeconomic field. The Genomics, Proteomics and Enabling Technologies application fields appear to be pre- sent in 12% of the companies
  • An identical industrial distribution can be found among the innovative start-ups, which represent 20% of the national biotech companies.
  • The Italian biotech industry has not been able to express its full potential and value. This is proven by the lack of large Italian capital leading companies compared to the large number of companies, which are innovative but usually too small to establish themselves on the market.
  • 80% of the Italian biotech industry is made up of small and micro companies, which have been a real driving force for the growth of the entire industry. Between 2017 and 2019, 50 new innovative start-ups active in the biotech field have been registered.
  • In the last five years (2014-2019), the number of SMEs active in the biotech field has increased, with a 20% growth within the same period. This event is linked to the merge & acquisition operations with which companies operating in traditional industries, have acquired the biotech activities and know-how from start-ups.
  • Two thirds of the biotech turnover is being generated by foreign capital companies, which represent only 11% of the companies taken into account and are mainly active in the human health industry.
  • The Italian capital companies instead, generate more than half of the biotech turnover in the industrial and environmental field of application, reinvigorating the traditional chemical specialization of the national productive fabric.

Extract to BioInItaly Report 2020 (Assobiotec-Enea)

This piece was submitted as part of the Global Marketplace at BIO Digital 2021. The NEW Global Marketplace at BIO Digital is designed to be the destination to showcase any region’s biotech strength and elevate its leading companies via high-energy, fast-paced presentations, coupled with live face-to face networking. Learn more here.