Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals (US)
By working with plant- and chemical-based compounds, pharmaceutical companies make medicines that cure some diseases, manage others and protect us from infection. “Big Pharma” represents a handful of major companies that dominate the industry. Many of these firms also produce animal health products, livestock feed supplements, vitamins and a host of other goods.
The majority of Big Pharma companies are headquartered in the United States. Diversified companies — for instance, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and Wyeth — maintain other health care-related businesses, such as consumer health product divisions and medical device companies. Nondiversified companies, such as Eli Lilly and Merck, focus solely on the development and sale of drugs.
Biotechnology, a newer but vibrant area, is the applied knowledge of biology, and seeks to duplicate or change the function of a living cell so it will work in a more predictable and controllable way. The biotechnology industry uses advances in genetics research to develop products for human diseases and conditions.
Biotech and pharma have been performing exceedingly well in recent years. Demand for drugs is growing, fueled by an aging U.S. population and blossoming international markets.
There has been a renewed drive to produce vaccines that will prevent or treat devastating illnesses that are common in the developed world, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Today, roughly 450 vaccines are in development, addressing such health threats as hepatitis, HIV and breast cancer.
By The Numbers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries will increase at an above-average rate through 2012.
Big Pharma is one of the world’s most profitable industries. During the last 30 years, the industry has spent billions of dollars on research and reaped billions in return. In 2006 alone, the pharmaceutical industry introduced 31 major drugs and sold $643 billion in products worldwide — a 7 percent increase over 2005 sales, according to a research firm.
In 2006, Big Pharma spent roughly $17 billion for more than 250 biotech deals, up from 150 in 2003, according to a venture capital firm.
For opportunities in the US Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals sector, please contact the National US India Chamber of Commerce:
700 17th Street, Suite 2000, 20th Floor
Denver, CO 80202, USA