Biotechnology in Europe

Representation of companies in the Biotechnology Industry in Europe is carried out by EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustry. The association has gathered efforts since 1996 to defend the interests of the sector at European level and interacts with the legislative and executive bodies of the European Union (EU), the European Parliament, the EU Council, and the European Commission, with the aim of influencing the policies addressed to Biotechnology, specifically to the areas of health and industrial biotechnology.

EuropaBio is made up of corporate and associate members, as well as regional or national biotechnology associations, such as P-BIO. Its work is developed based on 5 pillars of action:

In 2021, EuropaBio presented a study entitled Measuring the Economic Footprint of the Biotechnology, which sought to analyze the economic impact of this sector, motivated by the intention to support the European industrial strategy.

The study establishes the economic impact of European companies that use Biotechnology in their research and/or production processes, and quantifies this impact in the period between 2008 and 2018, considering the 28 former EU Member States. This study confirms the significant economic performance of Biotechnology, including the direct contribution to GDP and the labor market, in addition to the indirect impact on European supply chains.

The study was conducted by analyzing the 5 economic indicators listed below.


Biotechnology driving EU growth

The average annual growth rate of the bioindustry was 4.1%, which corresponds to more than double the growth of the overall EU economy (1.9%), making it one of the fastest growing innovative industries in Europe. 

Biotechnology generating effective value chains in the EU

For every job directly linked to the Biotechnology sector, three additional jobs are generated in the European economy. Since the 2008 economic crisis, this sector has provided around 50,000 additional job opportunities. 

Biotechnology surpassing highly productive industries in terms of labor productivity

Bioindustry had an average Gross Value Added (GVA) per person of €154,500, making it a highly efficient and capital-intensive industry that surpasses other sectors such as telecommunications and finance. 

Biotechnology contributing to growth through R&D

Biotechnology’s direct contribution to GDP through Research and Development (R&D) activities amounted to 2.7 billion euros in 2018. This corresponds to an average annual growth rate of 4.5%, which means that grows faster than the global sector, which, as seen in the first point, presents a growth rate of 4.1%. 

Export of Biotechnology providing increased trade surplus

This industry has created a significant EU trade surplus over these 10 years and has the potential to grow through the right incentives and an open view of international trade value chains. With a trade surplus currently in excess of €22 billion, the European Biotechnology industry makes a higher-than-average economic contribution through the distribution of high-quality goods with added value.

This study highlights the potential of this area, which has the advantage of being able to be applied to a multitude of processes in different sectors, from the development of vaccines to fight pandemics and change the paradigm that we live in rare diseases, to industrial processes that resort to instead of fossil fuels, to meet the food needs of a world population in constant growth through improved crops, resistant to drought, among many other examples. What is a fact is that Biotechnology has shown its value in mitigating global problems as impactful as pandemics, global warming, malnutrition, destruction of biodiversity, etc.

In short, this study shows the benefits of Biotechnology from an economic point of view, given the inherent productivity, the jobs created, the value chains generated, but also its impact on society through the products generated, with an emphasis on the potential of innovation that characterizes it.