Biotech fantasies have provided plenty of fodder for the entertainment field, but its real-life accomplishments in more recent years — particularly those from the biopharmaceutical arena with viable therapeutic treatments coming to the rescue of millions — have helped the sector reach a much higher rung on the ladder of worldwide respectability. Successful therapies based on recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies, for starters, proved to the world that this is, after all, a legitimate field (and business) that can and should be taken seriously.
That's not to say there aren't challenges to overcome before the industry's long-term survival and success are guaranteed. (See Uwe Gottschalk's cover story, "Downstream Processing of Monoclonal Antibodies: From High Dilution to High Purity" and Jim Miller's outsourcing column, "New Financial Realities Will Alter the Biopharmaceutical Outsourcing Landscape".)But biopharmaceuticals are on a roll and they're gaining momentum. If you need to convince any doubting Thomases within your reach, steer them toward the 2004 data: biotech raised $16.9 billion in capital in the US and $3.4 billion in Europe; US biotech companies marketed about 230 drugs, and there were 365 medicines in Phase III clinical trials (a 25 percent increase from 2003); a worldwide surge in IPOs led to 28 deals in the US, 17 in Asia-Pacific, nine in Europe, and four in Canada. This, according to Ernst & Young's 19th Annual Global Biotechnology Report "Beyond Borders: A Global Perspective."
E&Y's Mike Hildreth, Americas director, biotechnology, says, "Biotechnology is delivering on its promises, and the sector's leading companies now rank among the top therapeutic companies in the world."
Carol L. Fisher, Editor in Chief