Life Sciences Growth Expands Everywhere

Life-sciences industry growth is expanding domestically and overseas.

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For instance, according to an early April announcement by San Francisco-based Burrill & Company, new initiatives focused on funding translational research—that is, converting discoveries in the lab to clinical interventions directly benefiting human health—and early-stage companies have brought together public and private sectors, particularly with the goal of building life-sciences centers in specific locations.

“In all, Burrill & Company (www.burrillandco.com) identified more than $2.6 billion in expected funding through nine initiatives announced since the end of February,” the company’s release says. One notable joint venture is the $760-million partnership between Russian Federation-owned and Moscow-based Rusnano, and Princeton, N.J.-based venture capital firm Domain Associates LLC (www.domainvc.com). Through that, technology will find its way to Russia, while the joint venture will provide funding to 20 U.S.-based firms.

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As for overall life-sciences growth, “data suggest a continued growth of mid-single digits,” says Jamie Hintlian, pharma vice president for Aspen Technology Inc. (www.aspentech.com), Burlington, Mass. “However, we must differentiate the regulated markets—that is, Europe and North America—which will grow at 2 percent or so; and the emerging markets, namely APAC [Asia-Pacific countries] at 15 percent.” But as Hintlian notes, “The wild card is the BRIC countries—Brazil, India and China—where investments in market development and infrastructure are starting to pick up steam."

Hintlian mentions two sector challenges. One is the continued rise of biologics and need for manufacturing capacity and expertise. Another he notes, which is perhaps good news for the healthcare consumer, but a challenge to the sector, is the continued increase in generics share. “Interestingly, the generics manufacturers invest in branded medicines in pursuit of higher-margin offerings."

>> C. Kenna Amos, ckamosjr@earthlink.net, is an Automation World Contributing Editor.

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