New Horizons for Finnish Bioindustries - Bioeconomy could bring new Growth to the Industrial Biotechnology Sector
Although the Finnish biotechnology sector is a young industry sector, it has gone through many changes during the past twenty years. From the late 90´s to the beginning of 21st century the number of new start-ups grew fast, but the lack of financing prevented the growth further. The rise of bioeconomy could bring a new boost to the industrial sector of bioindustry.
The biotechnology sector in Finland is based on the high level research, performed in Finnish universities and research institutes. Especially in biomedical research there are several top class research groups, which have been the basis of the healthcare bioindustry sector in Finland. There are a number of companies which have survived the poor financing situation in Finland through licensing deals, aquisitions and mergers with big pharma companies, but many companies have been forced to go out of business due to lack of financing, despite the excellence of their IPR, technologies and drug candidates.
The new rise in bioindustry in Finland could be in bioeconomy. Finland has a strong and long tradition and know-how in paper and pulp industry, which is undergoing big changes towards the use of bio-based raw materials, for the development of new products. Biotechnology will have an important role in different biomass refining processes, EU Comission has named industrial biotechnology as one of the key enabling technologies (KET). There is a long tradition of industrial biotechnology in Finland in food industry, breweries and industrial enzymes.
Biofuels are important products of the bioeconomy, but bio-based materials can also be refined to various other products such as, biochemicals and pharmaceuticals. The health care sector will remain the most important bioindustry sector in Finland, especially diagnostic sector will grow due to preventive medicine but bioeconomy could strengthen the industrial biotechnology sector and generate new SMEs.
Finland could be Europe’s forerunner in bioeconomy as we have the necessary raw material and know-how in different technologies. In addition to that we need collaboration between different industry sectors and favorable governmental policy to support it.
Finnish Bioindustries FIB is Finland's biotechnology industry association, established in 1997. It is a private, independent non-profit organisation. Member companies represent all life science areas, from health care and functional food to biomaterials.
While the industry is rapidly developing, it is vital for biotechnology companies, trade organisations, authorities, researchers, research units, universities, technology organisations and financiers to attain close cooperation with each other. Finnish Bioindustries promotes national and international networking and information transfer between the different players in the field.
Being a technology-intensive industry, many of the biotechnology issues concern research and technology. Finnish Bioindustries participates in national and international technology programs, actively exploits finance systems and promotes technology transfer. One of the main tasks is to help the work of commercializing new areas of biotechnology.
Start-up hi-tech companies have the opportunity to share their experience and problems with each other using the platform provided by Finnish Bioindustries.
Extensive legislation in Finland and Europe regulates the activities of the industry. Finnish Bioindustries supports national and international cooperation for the preparation and surveillance of biotechnology legislation.
Finnish Bioindustries is a national member of EuropaBio (European Association for Biotechnology), which was founded in 1996 to promote the European biotechnology industry. FIB is also a member of the US based BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organisation) and the Australian AusBiotech.