Governments in Europe need to do much more to ensure R&D innovation in biotech industry is translated into new businesses, new products and additional jobs.

That is the argument put forward by a new report launched by Ernst & Young and the European Association for Bioindustries (EuropaBio). The analysis notes "significant variation in the regulatory and policy environment for biotechnology companies across Europe, which has a significant impact on success and policies across the region".

The report surveyed 16 countries across Europe and compares the tax concessions on offer in each country, financing opportunities for small and medium-size enterprises, "and the benefits that can flow from a decision to establish a start-up in a particular location". It notes that the continent "has the potential to be a world leader in the field of biotechnology" but "it is not enough to have a good tax or finance system in place. The right policies and incentives for R&D development are also essential to growth in this industry".

Stephan Kuhn,  E&Y EMEIA tax leader, said that "a consistent tax and regulatory environment for biotech SMEs across Europe is essential if the industry is to have sustainable growth and remain competitive compared with other regions". He added that the report shows some governments have recognised the importance of incentives such as R&D tax credits or low corporation tax, "whereas others have not".

Thomas Saylor, EuropaBio chair of the SME platform, stated that "there is growing recognition by the European Commission and policy makers throughout Europe of the importance of biotech SMEs to Europe’s future prosperity".