Biotech industry in Italy


Copertina Report Inglese

Discovering the Italian Biotech Industry

The last report on the Italian biotech industry, drafted thanks to the consolidated collaboration between Assobiotec (Italian Association for the Development of Biotechnology, part of Federchimica) and ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), has been published in April 2018. The analysis offers an update on the current Italian biotech industry in 2017

These are the main themes: the figures of Italian biotech, a chapter on research and development activities, a snapshot of the healthcare, agriculture and veterinary medicine, industry and environment sectors, a focus on bioeconomy and measures to support innovation. 

The data collected within the framework of the National Statistical Programme will be merged into the statistics on the biotechnology industry edited by the OECD – Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose methodology is adopted in the study.

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.

key figures of Italian biotech sector

field of application Italian biotech

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.

Where to find us

20149 Milan
Via Giovanni da Procida, 11
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Tel. +39 02.34565.1
Fax. +39 02.34565.310
Segreteria Assobiotec
Tel. 02 34565.256/341
assobiotec@federchimica.it