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May 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 9)

Emerging Biotechnology Clusters

Experienced Management and VCs and a Serial Entrepreneurial Culture Provide Critical Keys to Success

  • Israel

    In 2006, Silico Research Limited ranked Rehovot as number eight in its list of the top non-U.S. biotech clusters, citing its work in monoclonals. About 20 kilometers from Tel Aviv, Rehovot is home to the 250-acre Tamar Science Park, the Weizmann Institute of Science, as well as Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agriculture. Rehovot, which is known as Israel’s science city, has a higher than average population of university-educated citizens.

    Israel has more than 900 life sciences companies. Of those, 55% are devoted to medical devices, and about 21% are focused on biotechnology. Pharmaceuticals constitute another 12% of the market, according to ILSI. Most of the pharmaceutical companies are engaged in generics, but 25% are developing new chemical entities. The country is entrepreneurial, and companies are spinning off from the universities in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. About 14% are at clinical stage. 

  • Singapore

    The Biopolis at the One-North corporate park has attracted some of the world’s leading researchers and also persuaded many R&D and manufacturing companies to locate facilities there. The hope is that those activities will spur local entrepreneurs. Like many emerging regions, it still needs a vibrant venture capital community. Biopolis is near the National University of Singapore and the National University Hospital.

    Phase one includes seven buildings—two for the private sector and five for public institutions. Phase two, completed in 2006, brought total research space to 222,000 square meters (about 2.4 million square feet).

    Biopolis is home to the Agency of Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), which leads the country’s scientific research and development efforts for the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

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