Biotech Industry Funding Assessment




Funding Guide


Biotech Industry Funding Assessment

In order to have a brief understanding of the funding conditions of teams from China, we distributed a survey concerning their funding this year. In this survey, we mentioned several questions, such as 'where they got the funding', 'how much they have got', 'materials they need to apply for funding', etc. We got several replies from Fudan-Shanghai, SJTU-BioX-Shanghai, Tsinghua, etc. According to their replies, we have found an interesting phenomenon. Most of iGEM teams depend on the support of related departments of their school as well as the College of Biological Science. Only a few teams have won funding from biotechnology companies, such as SJTU-BioX-Shanghai. Even though they have got support from Merck and GeneScript. Only Merck promises to offer cash support, while GeneScript offers discounts of reagents. However, teams from Europe earn major funding support from biotech companies. For example, Imperial College London has earned support from welcometrust, eurofins,NEW ENGLAND BioLabs and QIAGEN. Paris Bettencourt has won support from Thermo, Invitrogen, Eurogentec, MINES ParisTech, geneious,lif technologies, GATC, ROTH and so on.

The above phenomenon leads us into investigating the current situation of Chinese biotech firms and R&D (research and development). Although Australia, Korea, Japan, and China stand out in terms of biotech company number, sheer number is not an appropriate indication of the industry's performance level (Figure 1). The R&D expenditure of China is far lower than that of USA (Figure 2). It reveals the limited investment in scientific research and development in China's biotech companies. Special regulation of investment in China more or less plays a significance role in this problem. There has not been an incentive to promote biotech companies or biotech industry to invest in new fields, such as synthetic biology. Besides, their lack of knowledge of synthetic biology has led to their unwillingness to invest in the research of this field.


Figure 1
Source: Primary Interviews with Local Government Agencies.

Figure 2
R&D expenditure in 2001 – 2003 (in billion USD).
 Source: OECD's Science and Technology Statistical Compendium 2004

According to statistics shown in Figure 3, biotech funding of the world was up 46% to $36.2 billion in 2010 from $25.8 billion in 2009. This obvious trend reveals that biotechnology has become an increasingly hot spot.


Figure 3
Biotech funding was up 46% to $36.2 billion in 2010 from $25.8 billion in 2009.
Sources: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence. Partnership figures from Burrill & Co. and Deloitte Recap are for deals involving a US company. BioCentury makes updates to its financing data on an ongoing basis.