Tough Times for European Biotech

Corbis The European biotechnology industry, once praised for its promise, now faces overwhelming pressure, prompted by the global decline in investment funding and internal bureaucratic obstacles. The sector's bounding growth rate jolted in 2002, with 10% to 20% annual revenue increases flattening to nothing by the end of that year.1 As venture funding and other investment recedes, once burgeoning companies are closing shop and trimming positions, a trend that has continued in 2003. Even bold

Andrew Scott
Jul 27, 2003
Corbis

The European biotechnology industry, once praised for its promise, now faces overwhelming pressure, prompted by the global decline in investment funding and internal bureaucratic obstacles. The sector's bounding growth rate jolted in 2002, with 10% to 20% annual revenue increases flattening to nothing by the end of that year.1 As venture funding and other investment recedes, once burgeoning companies are closing shop and trimming positions, a trend that has continued in 2003.

Even boldly successful groups now must make tough decisions. Scotland's PPL Therapeutics, creators of Dolly the sheep, recently abandoned plans for a new $67 million manufacturing plant, for example. Cambridge, Mass.-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals announced in June that it would close its Cambridge, UK, research and development operations, prompting the loss of 150 jobs.

OFFICIAL FRETTING The European Commission's first report on its strategy for boosting biotechnology business concluded in March 2003 that the sector had severe...

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