The Role of Public Policy
Edited by Bo Göransson and Carl Magnus Pålsson
Carl Magnus Pålsson and Birgitte Gregersen INTRODUCTION Being a ‘basic technology’ or ‘general purpose technology’ biotechnology (like ICT) introduces fundamentally new technical principles that over time are expected to influence a broad range of other technologies. As these basic technologies develop, mature and integrate with other technologies it subsequently becomes more and more difficult to classify firms and activities according to their primary technology input and output. Reflecting this trend, recent analyses often use the term ‘life science’ as a wider industrial classification for biotechnology-related products and processes. Following Gestrelius, Sandström and Dolk (2008) ‘life science industry’ in this chapter refers to biotech companies within the three sectors: biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical technology. Applying this broad definition, life science holds strong positions in Denmark and Sweden. If we take traditional performance measures such as patents, publications, new products, pipeline development and new companies, Danish and Swedish life science industry in most categories belongs to the top five in Europe – if measured per capita. There are several interrelated factors explaining this. Some relate to the overall general characteristics of the Danish and Swedish National Innovation Systems linked to the welfare state, some are specific for the life science sector, and some are even specific for particular technology areas and sub-sectors within life science. Specific framework conditions include, for instance, dedicated research funds for life sciences, and European and national policies aiming at stimulating life science implementation. Technology-specific framework conditions include for instance regulations for testing drugs, or tax reductions...
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