PAMPLONA, Spain, September 30, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The global biotechnology industry has been more resistant to the economic crisis than expected. This has been one of the main conclusions of the international round table "Opportunities and Challenges of the Global Biomarkets", held as part of the 5th International Meeting on Biotechnology, BioSpain 2010, organised by the Spanish Association of Biocompanies (ASEBIO) and the Government of Navarre through SODENA. During this event, experts from around the world have talked about their experience of each of their geographic locations in the field of biotechnology. Among the most important issues discussed they highlighted two: the increasing selectiveness of investors and the cuts in R&D+i. An important figure that was discussed was a "modest decrease" of 10% of the number of biotechnology companies worldwide, despite the crisis. During the round table it was made clear that "financing is the main problem faced by biotechnology today".
The Minister of Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia, has visited BioSpain 2010 to "see how Pamplona has become the nerve centre of European biotechnology". The Minister has mentioned the support offered by the central Government. "Undoubtedly, the biotechnology sector is bound to become one of the crucial sectors involved in our economic recovery, and I think that the figures and the international interest shown are proof of this; this helps us understand that it is the way forward". Garmendia referred to the General State Budgets, presented today, which allocate over 5.35 billion euros to the Ministry of Science and Innovation, 1.2 % more than the previous year. "With this budget, which has yet to be passed through parliament, we can guarantee the financing of all the contracts, grants, research projects and transfers of research to public bodies".
The protagonist of today's plenary session was Larry Fritz, president and CEO of Covella Pharmaceuticals, who stressed that the current model of venture capital has to be revised. "Venture capital has lost its entrepreneurial mindset; today investors leave their decisions in the hands of external consultants who, in many cases, are too critical of the projects that require financing". Larry Fritz, who focused his talk on how to create and develop a successful biotechnology company, insisted that investors are more conservative and that work is done more slowly than a few years ago.
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