Germany’s biotechnology industry continues to grow across all sectors. With support from the German federal government and state government officials, biotechnology hubs are popping up across the country. The industry has also seen an increase in Foreign Direct Investment helping to cultivate local innovation and commericalization.

Market Facts

  • Germany’s biomanufacturing capacities are number two in the world.
  • There are currently around 214 research institutions active in biotechnology innovation in Germany,

Biotechnology innovation in Germany is also helping to achieve the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals. Here a few examples:

  • Advanced Biofuels: Clariant is a globally leading specialty chemicals company, based in Muttenz near Basel/Switzerland.  The company has developed the sunliquid® process which uses enzymatic hydrolysis followed by fermentation to efficiently and sustainably produce cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues such as wheat straw, corn stover or sugarcane bagasse. Since 2012, Clariant has been operating Germany’s largest cellulosic ethanol plant in Straubing, validating the technology and proving process performance in an industrial environment. In September 2017, Clariant signed its first license agreement for sunliquid® with Enviral, the largest producer of bioethanol in Slovakia, which will produce cellulosic ethanol at an annual production capacity of 50 000 tons. In October that same year, Clariant announced own plans to invest in a new, full-scale commercial plant based on its sunliquid technology in the southwestern part of Romania.
  • Green Mining for Precious Metals: BRAIN Biotech is a German bioeconomy pioneer and has developed among many other solutions the BioXtractor, a biotechnology application for ‘Urban Mining’ respectively ‘Green Mining’. The demand for precious metals for high tech applications is increasing. Precious metals are rare and often difficult to retrieve. Brain’s BioXtractor was developed to extract metals form industrial trash e. g. from the steel and metal industries. Microorganisms process the secondary resources and extract precious metals with yield rates up to 100 percent. The technology has been successfully transferred from lab to pilot scale.
  • Powerful Technology to Prevent Joint Replacement: The co.don® AG, a biopharmaceutical company based near Berlin, is one of the specialists worldwide in cell cultivation for the regenerative treatment of articular cartilage defects and spinal disc defects. The company’s products are used to treat cartilage damage. Cartilage defects can often cause arthrosis and finally result in joint replacement surgery. In 2017 co.don AG has launched the European Spherox product in Europe. The cell-based medicinal product sets the stage for the highest level of personalized healing. Knee pain is reduced significantly and the quality of life for patients sustainably improved. Orthopaedic, accident and neuro-surgeons are increasingly applying these regenerative therapy methods.
  • Tissue Replacement- Improving the Outcome of Surgery: The company UroTiss Europe, a pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Germany, has developed an innovative method for the surgical repair of the narrowing of the urethra which can be caused by injury and infection. The company uses an autologous cell transplant to fix the narrowing derived from the patient’s own cells. The cell transplant is tissue engineered from only a small cell sample of the patient’s mouth. The replacement tissue MukoCell® is the first tissue engineering product in the urology field worldwide that is based on the patient’s own cells and can significantly improve outcomes.
  • Revolutionizing Treatment of Autoimmune Disease: Currently Humira® of AbbVie is the best-selling drug in the world, because it offers a powerful treatment option against rheumatoid arthritis and other prevalent autoimmune diseases. The antibody was originally developed by the German Knoll Pharma, a biotech subsidiary of BASF. Although advanced in clinical trials, BASF sold its subsidiary to Abbott in 2001 which introduced Humira® into the market in 2002. It is used to treat approximately 1 m patients worldwide.

BIO Deutschland

As the sector association of the biotechnology industry, BIO Deutschland has set itself the objective of supporting and promoting the development of an innovative economic sector based on modern biosciences.

The Berlin-based association currently has over 330 corporate members. It is run by a board of ten members consisting of CEOs and managing directors of biotechnology companies. This committee comprehensively represents the various fields in the sector.

BIO Deutschland is Germany’s biotechnology sector representative at the European association, EuropaBio, in Brussels. BIO Deutschland also works closely with other biotech organisations in Europe and the USA in order to lobby for the interests of the sector in an internationally coordinated way. The association is also very active in a broad range of events with the aim of providing biotechnology with a platform for discussion and interaction.

German Association of Biotechnology Industries (DIB)

DIB, the German Association of Biotechnology Industries, was established 1997 and is Germany’s trade association for industrial biotechnology. DIB speaks for 200 large, medium-sized, and small member companies engaged in research, development and production of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, agro-biotech products, enzymes, food additives, and others. Around half of DIB’s membership are newly established entrepreneurial biotech companies.

DIB’s role is:

  • Representing of interests of biotechnology companies in contacts with politicians, government, various agencies and institutions, the general public.
  • Representing the interests of the German biotechnology industry in Europe and world-wide, especially through active participation in international associations such as the European biotechnology association EuropaBio.
  • Supporting in the setting-up and development of small and medium-sized biotechnology companies in Germany.

Association’s resources

  • The Long Path From Paper To Practice

    This paper highlights the status and perspectives of the bioeconomy in Germany.

    See Publication
  • BIO Deutschland- German Biotech FactSheet

    BIO Deutschland collects annual data on small and medium-sized businesses that, according to OECD criteria, operate in the biotechnology sector. These key performance indicators were published in collaboration with EY.

    See Publication
  • BIO Deutschland Positions

    This document outlines key policy positions in the following topics: finance and taxation; licences and technical contracts; regulatory matters; innovation and entrepreneurship; HR; German-US cooperation; health policy; competition and regulatory policy; technology transfer; and PR.

    See Publication