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LIFE SCIENCES IN EUROPE


The European life sciences industry has a long history. Many of the major players trace their roots to before the war, and often began as agricultural or chemical companies. LSIPR takes a look at the leading jurisdictions.


In the past year or so, life sciences companies have outperformed the stock exchange significantly. Tough it would be foolish to call this a boom time for the industry, investors know that there is money to be made in developing innovative biotech solutions. Countries that have not been traditional life sciences powerhouses are wising up, and the next great success story seems as likely to be from India as from Europe. In this context, the traditional powerhouses of the European life sciences industry will need to be smart, while national and regional governments have to think carefully about how to keep them competitive on the global stage.


The figures


It is difficult to measure the relative success of different life sciences jurisdictions. Data is thin on the ground. Tat said, various companies and government bodies have attempted to rank European innovation. A 2010 Ernst & Young study listed European countries based on their


clinical pipelines. It found that the UK had comfortably the largest numbers of products at all stages of the pipeline, followed by Germany, Denmark, France, Switzerland and Sweden.


Tis list is interesting because of its mix— Denmark, a far smaller market than France, nonetheless finishes above it; Switzerland, with a population of about 8 million, runs France and even Germany close. Tere is certainly some sort of correlation between the size of a country and its success, but it is clear that sheer numbers are not the only factor.


History matters


Te European life sciences industry has been dominated over the last 50 years by companies from three main countries. Germany has perhaps the strongest history, with large pharmaceutical and chemicals companies, dating in some cases to the 19th century, leading the charge. But while history can help to explain why the industry exists, it doesn’t tell us much about its continuing success.


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Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review 2011


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