Massive changes in the world marketplace mean that even fledgling biotechnology companies must put a development strategy in place for the emerging economies of

China, India and Eastern Europe, according to William Haseltine, found and former chief executive of US biotech Human Genome Sciences.

Haseltine told the Cordia conference in London, UK, this week that given the globalisation in R&D over the last five years, biotechnology companies can no longer confine their attention to the markets of the USA, Europe and Japan if they want to follow in the footsteps of those first-generation biotechnology companies that have gone on to become multibillion dollar businesses.

Operating in these countries could help offset constraints currently holding back the biotechnology industry in the USA, Europe and Japan, such as limited market size, a high regulatory burden and difficulties in enrolling patients into clinical trials, he said.

“The last 20 years have seen a dramatic increase in the biotech knowledge base, but the sector is facing a constriction in opportunity,” said Haseltine, pointing to the downward pressure on pricing that is affecting the biopharmaceutical sector, resulting from the bloated service budgets, inefficient distribution and extended administration‚ of national healthcare systems.

“Companies are still hoping to get a return on their ideas in the core marketplaces, but their context must broaden,” Haseltine told delegates during a debate on the European Union’s Lisbon Strategy, which aims to make the region the continent the number one knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010.