For anyone interested in investing in, or thinking of pursuing a career in biotech, whether at a large company or a small startup, here are five positive indicators of how viable the industry is today. These signs speak volumes of the potential and popularity of biotech today among investors and politicians alike.
1. Job Satisfaction
Biotech jobs in the USA pay double the national median, suggesting a demand for educated, ambitious employees who seek a challenge. In Fortune magazines's
survey of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in 2006", where 2/3 of the scoring weight was based on employee evaluations, Genentech was listed No. 1, joined in the top 52 by 4 other biotech companies. This list consisted of companies that were over 7 years old with at least 1000 employees, ruling out nearly all startups. Nonetheless, if the continuing "brain-drain" from Canada is any indication, opportunities and job satisfaction must abound in the USA.
2. Fast Growing Job SectorWith today's aging population, the Life Sciences industry is expected to continue to be one of the fastest growing job sectors for some time. Biomedical and Health Sciences research is in demand as the Boomer generation faces its senior years.
3. Available Funding
After a bit of a lull in interest during the early half of this decade, it seems biotech is once again hot with venture capitalists. In the USA, you can take your pick of states wooing investors and biotech companies in a bid to boost employment and their economies. Lawmakers are helping out by changing the rules and making it easier for companies to do their research in controversial areas such as stem cell research
. Increased grant funding to Universities is also a strategy adopted by some states fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and birth of new startups.
4. Foreign Opportunities
Biotech is hot in foreign countries too, as international interest grows. Countries like India, Italy, China and Israel
are among those showing the most growth in this sector. Some of the popularity of biotech has nothing to do with pharmaceutical and biomedical research, but more to do with environmental and agricultural endeavors. One example of this is Brazil, an unlikely world leader in bioethanol production
5. Growth PotentialBiotech startups with products ready for market can experience huge growth overnight, or sell out for huge profits to a larger pharmaceutical firm. Even larger companies, if the formula is right, can continue to outgrow other sectors. One such example is Genentech, which, over the past five years expanded at twice the mean US employment rate.