German medical biotechnology's record breaking trend

The German medical biotechnology industry is growing and surpassing its performance year after year. The Biotechnologie Jahrbuch 2018 (Biotechnology Yearbook 2018), published by and prepared by BIOCOM, says that last year, financing for innovation and research and development (R&D) in the industry was at a record high. Other reports, including Medical Biotechnology in Germany 2019, which was commissioned by vfa-bio and prepared by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), confirm unprecedented growth.

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BCG's report indicates that in 2018 biopharmaceutical sales at hospitals and pharmacies brought in revenues of EUR 11.4 billion, or 11.7 percent more than they did the year before. Biopharmaceuticals' share of the market for all pharmaceuticals grew to 27.4 percent as well, with immunology having the greatest revenues.

The record for approvals of biopharmaceutical drugs was broken in 2018, with 38 new products being licensed accounting for more than half of all new pharmaceutical approvals.

Employment in the sector grew at an unparalleled rate as well, as medical biotechnology companies continued hiring. In 2018, 400 medical biotechnology companies in Germany employed 49,700 people, for record-breaking 5.7 percent growth in worker numbers compared to the year before.

Biosimilars, notes BCG, were marketed in Germany for the first time in 2018 and showed significant growth by achieving market shares ranging by product from 25 percent to 50 percent. The products also accounted on average for 38 percent of sector revenues last year.

BCG compares the industry a decade ago to its situation at present, which makes the magnitude of growth clear. In 2009, for example, 188 biopharmaceuticals had been approved. Now that figure is at 310. Meanwhile, the number of products in the medical biotech pipeline has increased by around 40 percent during the same period, with 468 drugs in development in 2009 and 635 in 2018

Financing for German biotechnology is also at an all-time high. In 2018, the country's biotech companies earned EUR 1.32 billion in investment, the highest sum since record keeping began fourteen years ago.

Among the drivers of this performance are German medical biotech's strengths in developing therapies, diagnostics, services, and the use of biopharmaceuticals in hospitals. Half of all German biotechnology enterprises are working on treatments and diagnostics and about a third provide services.

The environment for further growth in the country's medical biotechnology industry is favorable. The German government supports the sector with a range of financing schemes for starting up new companies. It additionally has programs to promote innovation. At the same time, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has commissioned the Export Initiative for the German Healthcare Industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY. The initiative is dedicated to ensuring the country's healthcare industry – through trade, business and research cooperation – works ultimately for patients, practitioners, and policy-makers at home and abroad.

HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY recently joined German medical biotechnology companies in putting in a strong showing at the German pavilion at Bio International in Philadelphia. There the initiative encountered high demand for its publications, the Guide to Contract Research in Germany and the Medical Biotechnology Industry Profile.