Unleashing the full potential of life sciences and biotechnology in Europe

The biotech sector can play a key role not only in Europe’s coronavirus recovery, but in its transition to a healthier, more resilient and more sustainable continent, writes Bernard Grimm.
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By Bernard Grimm

Bernard Grimm is Healthcare Biotech Director at EuropaBio, the European Association of Bioindustries.

15 Oct 2020

In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 changed our lives. As the outbreak’s impact on public health, the economy and even our daily lives becomes increasingly evident, so does the importance of the biotechnology and life sciences sector. Public officials, regulators and citizens are turning to biotechnology for solutions.

The industry has responded with unprecedented speed to the emerging health threat, spearheading the search for vaccines, antiviral treatments, and diagnostic tools. The pandemic has also highlighted the critical need to reduce our ecological footprint by transitioning to a circular economy using biotechnology solutions.

Today, the European Commission is setting the course for Europe’s recovery from the pandemic, driven by the European Green Deal and its associated Industrial, Pharmaceutical, Farm to Fork and Digital strategies.

The time is now right for a strong EU Life Sciences and Biotechnology strategy, and for this sector to show that key global challenges like pandemic preparedness, health and well-being, global warming and destruction of biodiversity can be addressed through transformative solutions.

Never has biotechnology been better positioned to contribute to a more inclusive economy; creating the jobs of the future that younger generations need to participate in the economic recovery and help us transition to a decarbonised green, biobased, and circular economy, while also creating resilient ecosystems for the health and well-being of us all.

In a time of great scientific advancement and innovation, the EU needs to remain competitive on the world stage. Therefore, we must unleash the full potential of the EU’s life sciences and biotechnology.

During this year’s European Biotech Week (28 September – 4 October), EuropaBio, the European Association of Bioindustries, together with Members of the European Parliament Juozas Olekas (LT, S&D) and Maria Spyraki (EL, EPP), launched its vision for a European life science and biotechnology strategy, entitled ‘Unleashing the full potential of life sciences and biotechnology in Europe.

At the event, speakers from Royal DSM (Marcus Remmers, Chief Technology Officer) and Kite Pharma (Dick Sundh, Head of Europe) presented innovative biotech solutions that contribute to the sustainability and health of global societies both today and in the future. Find out more about the event here.

“Never has biotechnology been better positioned to contribute to a more inclusive economy; creating the jobs of the future that younger generations need to participate in the economic recovery”

EuropaBio’s vision document outlines eight key pillars through which life sciences and biotechnology can help us transform Europe into a healthier, more resilient, and more sustainable continent, one that can swiftly recover from the current crisis and deliver for its citizens, regions and economy.

Investing in a strong life sciences and biotechnology ecosystem will be essential to creating the innovation engine that Europe needs. Few other industries directly provide for our health and sustainability while simultaneously stimulating investment, innovation and employment.

Empowering the biotechnology industry ensures support for SMEs and offers a host of indirect opportunities for growth across manufacturing, supply chains, education and research.

The stronger our life sciences and biotechnology ecosystem, the better prepared Europe will be to confront future global challenges.

Our ambitious vision for the life sciences and biotechnology sector provides a strategic way forward to underpin the European Green Deal and its associated strategies. Together we can accelerate the realisation of our common goals of healthy people and a sustainable planet.

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