Biotech Investments in Italy: 80% Come from Abroad

ITTBioMed by Edra and DLA Piper, supported by Lendlease, MIND, and T-Factor, recently organized the event “Patents and Secrets: Technology Transfer in Life Sciences.” The main goal of the event was to foster a fruitful exchange among biotech sector experts, aimed at strengthening the foundations of the industry in Italy and promoting the protection of industrial property and scientific know-how.

Among the speakers, Onofrio Mastandrea, General Manager of Incyte, stood out, opening his speech with an overview of R&D investments in the pharmaceutical sector in Italy. “In 2022, over two billion euros were invested in R&D by the Italian pharmaceutical sector, with about 700 million in clinical research,” Mastandrea began, highlighting the significance of these figures for the country. The General Manager continued by discussing the key role of clinical research, which also requires close collaboration between the public and private sectors. “When a pharmaceutical company advances a clinical development program in Italy, it establishes a partnership with all stakeholders in the healthcare system, from institutions to hospital companies and IRCCS,” Mastandrea explained. This working model demonstrates how collaboration is crucial for developing innovation in the network.

Mastandrea then emphasized the uniqueness of the pharmaceutical sector in the landscape of R&D investments. “Pharmaceutical companies invest 15% of their revenues in R&D, a rate three times higher than that of all other industrial sectors,” he stated, adding that this commitment demonstrates the potential for value generation for the entire country system. Speaking about the sources of funds, he noted that “80% of investments come from foreign capital, which underscores Italy’s attractiveness as a biotech innovation hub.” In this context, he cited the example of Incyte, which invests about 75% of its revenues in research, positioning itself among the top ten companies for investments in Italy. The speech then focused on the value of knowledge transfer and the role of research in cultural and healthcare development. “Every euro invested in research by pharmaceutical companies generates three times the investment for the national healthcare system,” Mastandrea illustrated, emphasizing the economic importance of research. Finally, the General Manager discussed the challenges and future opportunities, including the importance of voting on the revision of European pharmaceutical legislation. “We are at a crossroads, and the political decisions we make can strengthen our global competitiveness or leave us behind,” Mastandrea concluded, stressing the need for strategic choices to ensure the growth and innovation of the sector in Europe.