International Business Opportunities in the Biotechnology Industry
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Gakhal 1 Sunny Gakhal Ms. A. Sobec SBI4U0-A 10 January 2008 International Business Opportunities in the Biotechnology Industry The world has witnessed extraordinary advancement in biological science over the last few decades. One particular area, within the subject of biology, which has witnessed such advancement and growth, is biotechnology. Biotechnology is the industrial application of living organisms and/or biological techniques, developed through basic research. In terms of industrial application, the three major industries with significant application of biotechnology include: health care (medical), agriculture, and the environment. Biotechnology consists of a combination of such disciplines as genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, and cell biology, which are simply academic branches derived from the core subject of biology. The benefits of biotechnology, today and in the future, are nearly limitless. Biotechnology has created more than 200 new therapies and vaccines, including products to treat cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and autoimmune disorders. Unfortunately, even with such significant accomplishments made possible via the use of biotechnology, the industry is relatively small in comparison to other industries of similarity (particularly the pharmaceutical industry), indicating that the power of biotechnology is yet not being exploited to its fullest potential. However, the industry is growing rapidly, and in fact, setting record highs. In April 2007, for example, the collective market capitalization (number of shares multiplied by the shares outstanding) of the 360 publicly traded biotechnology companies listed on the NASDAQ and AMEX, and monitored by Burrill & Company, soared above $500 billion for the first time in its history, closing that month at $507 billion.
Biotechnology has the potential to give Canadians and the global society, a wide variety of new and important medicinal solutions that could be helpful in preventing diseases, treating illnesses, and improving health in general. Biotechnology-based health products can consist of drugs and other products such as: conventional viral and bacterial vaccines; recombinant proteins including, blood products, hormones, growth factors and enzymes; gene therapy and cell therapy products; pharmaceuticals regulated as chemical drugs (e.g. antibiotics and enzymes). In addition to all of the possibilities listed, modern biotechnology can also be used to manufacture existing drugs more easily and significantly cheaper. For example, in 1978, Genetech, a multinational corporation, considered to be the founder of the biotechnology industry, focused on using human genetic information to discover, develop, manufacture and commercialize biotherapeutics that address significant unmet medical needs, developed an humanized insulin by joining an insulin gene with a plasmid vector which was later inserted into the bacterium Escherichia coli for administration. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas of the human body, responsible for Gakhal 4 regulating a constant blood-glucose concentration in the bloodstream, and widely used for the treatment of diabetes, was previously extracted from the pancreas of bovines and pigs to treat patients diagnosed with diabetes. However, extracting insulin from bovine and pigs was quite expensive and often useless since it elicited unwanted immunogenic responses. However, with the resulting genetically engineered bacterium by Genetech, the production of large quantities of human insulin at lower costs was enabled.
In fact, pollution has made cancer China's leading cause of death. Air pollution alone is blamed for hundreds of Gakhal 6 thousands of deaths each year. Nearly 500 million people lack access to safe drinking water and only 1% of the country's 560 million city residents breathe air considered safe according to the European Union. However, apart from the significant damages these countries create upon their own homeland, the additional impact on the global environment of their environmentally unfriendly business strategies has created international concern and pressure. Therefore, very profitable opportunities can be foreseen in the near future as these countries will eventually have to deal with their degrading environment but, unfortunately, lack the ability to do so with efficient and modernized methods (via the use of biotechnological applications). Canada is in a prime position to benefit from the rapid international awareness of biotechnological applications and their usefulness within various business sectors, and as well as the rapid growth of the biotechnology sector itself. Canada's early realization of the technology and its potential and the heavy financial expenditure into the industry that followed, has created an intellectual capital within the sector ready to compete fiercely with any other nation. As certain developing nations post rapid economic growth and their peoples prosper, huge markets are forming for biotechnology. Canadians and Canadian companies, armed with a large intellectual capitals and years of early expertise of the application of the technology, are set to prosper from the internationally expanding biotechnological industry.
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