The biotechnology industry has, since its inception in the 1980s, contuously increased its influence on the pharmaceutical industry. This commercial breakthrough made it possible for entry into the pharmaceutical market, with newcomers including Genetech, Amgen and Biogen Idec. Established pharmaceutical companies are now in the process of spending billions in the process of acquisitions – take the move by Roche to acquire biotechnology pioneers Genentech – of companies positioned in this lucrative market.
Further evidence of the triumph of biotechnology in the pharmaceutical business is detailed in its sales: the now patent-free cardiovascular agent Lipitor and Plavix took over in the second quarter, and Humira and Enbrel became the first two biotechnologically manufactured rheumatic drugs to have assumed lead position in the market. This year, both products will achieve sales of around $18 billion. Overall, there are now over four dozen biotechnologically produced drugs on the market, reaching sales of $80 billion, including seven of the top ten selling drugs.
Germany, however, plays only a small role on the US-dominated biotechnology market: German biotechnology companies only earn a total of $1.1 billion in revenue. The US competitors, including for example Abbott who produce rheumatic medicine Humira, have total revenues of $58.8 billion. Half of the top ten drugs also come from the USA. Siegfried Bialojan, of consulting firm Ernst & Young, explains as follows: „The German pharmaceutical industry traditionally dominated in terms of chemistry and did not, therefore, foresee the opportunities of biotechnological research“ (quote translated by Kon.Media).
In the past year, although the German biotechnology industry grew in the important sales figures, staff and business start-ups, but have chosen to remain German market participants only, due to the massive decline in private investment, and also the conditions for a substantial research and development environment deteriorated.
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