Biotechnology should help us to respond to the present and future needs that arise in relationship with the welfare of humanity. We need to coordinate that response and our capabilities to provide sustainable solutions (SDG: Sustainable Development Goals) and to build a sustainable future together. More than ever, science and innovation are the drivers of economic and social prosperity, and the pillars on which our country must rest as we are facing reconstruction in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Investment in R&D for the biotechnology sector is on the rise. The data set forth in the “ASEBIO 2019: Ready for the Spain of Tomorrow” report couldn’t be more encouraging. During the year 2018, the biotechnology sector invested nearly 770 million euros in R&D, of which 71% went to biotechnology companies. According to the above data, the biotechnology companies were ranked in 2018 in the first position as the industrial sector that invests most in R&D – ahead of the pharmaceutical sector for the first time. In terms of the growth of investment in R&D for biotechnology companies, the sector reached an annual growth of 13% in 2018, ranking amongst the five sectors with the most growth in R&D investment. Considering where said investment ended up, 43% of biotechnology company investments went to the remuneration of R&D staff in 2018.
Spanish biotechnology represents 2.8% of world production, and it is 30% more than the global average for said sector. Spain is the ninth power in terms of scientific biotechnology production and the country with the highest percentage of scientific articles published in high-impact journals: 83.3%. The biotechnology sector is protecting its innovations increasingly more at the international level: mainly in the European Patent Office (42%) and through PCT patents (32%). Biotechnology companies have an international vocation.
This sector is also intense in terms of researcher recruitment – above the Spanish average. Because of this, biotechnology companies are in second place in terms of the percentage of researchers compared with the total number of employees in their sector. As regards the participation of women in the sector, almost 60% of employees in R&D activities at biotechnology companies are women, a figure surpassed only by the health and social services sectors, as well as the pharmacy sector.
The enormous challenge of this 2020, which entails both responsibility and solidarity and exists in a time of complex circumstances and much uncertainty in terms of the global economy, is to start to have a response through biotechnology – its contribution is key to the development of industry and progress.