In general, biotechnology is the use of biological systems and living organisms to make or modify products or processes for specific purposes. Agriculture, food production, and medicine are the most important areas of application of biotechnology, along with interdisciplinary fields such as genomics, applied immunology, and the development of pharmaceutical therapies and diagnostic tests. Biotech in medicine lately came into focus due to the discovery and development of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, like those by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna.
Together with the United States, Europe is the major global region for biotechnology. Among the leading biotech companies with headquarters in Europe are Swiss pharma giants Roche and Novartis, although these companies are not focused only on biotech-derived, but also on classic chemical-pharmaceutical products. Further European companies are well-known names like AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi. There are also smaller, more biotech-focused companies like Danish Genmab and Novozymes, or Belgian UCB. In the meantime, the London metro area represents the major biotech cluster on the continent, followed by the metro areas of Zürich, Paris, and Berlin.
The use of biotechnology in agriculture, food production and medicine is also a widely discussed topic due to its effects on the environment and human health. Some of the most pressing ethical issues regarding this industry are, for example, the use of humans in clinical trials, genetically modified crops, genetic engineering, animal testing, bioterrorism and stem cell research.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 25 most important statistics relating to "Biotechnology in Europe".