How BRICS countries are moving on in the biotechnology market
Biotech makes a relatively small segment of the global technology market, despite the noticeable growth during the recent decades. Ekaterina Streltsova, senior researcher at the HSE ISSEK, explored how BRICS countries are developing this industry using patent analysis techniques. Her panel report opened the biotechnology section at the II BRICS Young Scientists Forum (11–15 July, 2017, Hang Zhou, China).
In her presentation Ekaterina has tried to answer the question, if biotechnology really is one of the most dynamic industries. From the patent analysis point of view the answer doesn’t seem to be very definite. During the last 20 years biotechnology-related patent activity was steadily growing, but the growth rate was much lower than, e.g., in microstructural, nano-, or computer technologies. Biotech still remains a relatively small segment of the global technology market, amounting to just about 2% of the global patent applications flow.
A particularly interesting aspect of biotechnology dynamics studies is the results achieved by the five quickly developing BRICS countries. Patent analysis reveals that China has the most impressive results: in this country the flow of patent applications for biotechnology-related inventions grew almost 300 times since 1990.
Biotechnology progress in the five BRICS countries is driven by different players. In Brazil, China and South Africa universities keep the leading positions, while in India it’s research organisations and higher education institutes funded with public money. In Russia a significant share of relevant patent applications originates in Russian-registered offices of major corporations. Certain public R&D organisations also actively participate in developing and patenting biotechnology-related solutions.
BRICS countries also differ in terms of the domineering groups of biotechnologies they develop. E.g. applicants in India, Russia, and South Africa most frequently patent “red” biotechnologies — i.e. pharmaceutics-related inventions. In Brazil and China the leaders are food production biotechnologies.
The Russian report on patent analysis of biotechnology was found to be very interesting by young applied scientists working in the biotechnology field and by experts who participate in shaping BRICS countries’ S&T policies. The presented data helped to take a broader look at the subject area, estimate the level of competition, and understand major national and global trends.
By Ekaterina Streltsova