The Italian biotech sector is undergoing consolidation around the strongest and most competitive companies
The Italian biotech industry has been experiencing a phase of consolidation in recent years. On the one hand, the number of active companies in the sector is stabilising; on the other hand, all the main economic indicators are accelerating their growth rate. The snapshot given by the report therefore suggests that a structural change is taking place, with the sector’s concentrating around the strongest and most competitive companies.
At the end of 2017, 571 biotech firms were counted in Italy. More than half of these (57%, corresponding to 323 firms) are dedicated biotech R&D firms that devote at least 75% of their intra-muros R&D investments to biotech research activities.
The total biotech turnover is over 11.5 billion euros, with an increase of 12% between 2014 and 2016. The number of employees is close to 13,000, registering an increase of 17% in Italian capital dedicated biotech R&D firms.
A look at what has been done in Italy in recent years
Numerous steps have been taken forward in recent years: policymakers are generally paying increasing attention to the sector; the ambition to put Research and Innovation at the centre of a strategic vision is spreading out.
Various aids have been fundamental in this path: the recognition of the status of innovative start-ups and innovative SMEs, the adoption of a preferential taxation regime on income from intellectual property (Patent Box), initiatives for the financing of new firms in Life Sciences, tax credit mechanism on R&D costs and investments and the introduction of the individual savings plans, known as PIR (Piani Individuali di Risparmio).
These important measures then led to the adoption of the National Plan «Impresa 4.0» in 2017, with which all the effective measures were upgraded and addressed in a 4.0 logic and new measures were envisaged in order to fully respond to the emerging needs.
Within this scenario, the following measures must also not be forgotten: the National Research Plan, the Smart Specialisation Strategy, the presentation of the National Bioeconomy Strategy in April 2017 and the resources allocated to a three-year plan to relaunch genetic improvement in agriculture.
An indication of this virtuous path is Italy’s ranking in second place for the rate of adoption of entrepreneurship incentive measures, according to the European Digital Forum Crowdsourcing Network, 2016.