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BIOTECHNOLOGY: THE FUTURE

Biotechnology is at its economic take-off stage. World markets in biotechnology derived products are estimated to grow by some 30% per annum for the rest of the decade, reaching over £70 billion by the year 2000. Within the European Union, industry sectors using biotechnology account for 17% of all employment, 9% of gross added value and over 20% of European industrial production. In the United Kingdom, biotechnology-dependent sales by UK companies account for £4 billion and could exceed £9 billion by the year 2000. UK biotechnology start-up companies alone already employ more than 8,000 people.

Biotechnology has the potential to deliver huge benefits to the UK economy and quality of life. Government is determined that the UK will enjoy these benefits to the full. This will be achieved by providing the climate for business success through fostering science and innovation; encouraging start-up and growth of small and medium-sized firms; promoting open and fair markets; and ensuring balanced regulation. It will also continue to work for a supportive regime throughout Europe to assist biotechnology development while at the same time providing proper safeguards for health and safety and the environment.

The Department of Trade and Industry's Chemicals and Biotechnology Division is dedicated to championing the cause of biotechnology, and to helping companies, irrespective of size, to improve their competitiveness through the use of biotechnology. Support is available to those applying the technology through innovation and R&D schemes; collaboration is actively encouraged between businesses, academics and investors to take research from the UK's excellent science base through to the market; and the UK is promoted as the European location for new and expanding biotechnology businesses to invest.

This BioGuide contains much valuable information; but above all it provides a raft of contacts who can give, directly or indirectly, answers on any aspect of biotechnology support and regulation which may be needed for the commercial development and exploitation of biotechnology in the UK.

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Last revised: 22 January 1997