Converging Science and Business: A unique outlook on the origin of the biotech sector


Before the emergence of biotechnology, it was believed that science and business operated in their separate worlds. Throughout history, science was encased within the providence of academia, separated from the need to make a profit and satisfy shareholders. Generally speaking, scientific institutions did not focus on business enterprise and likewise business did not engage in science. As such, it can be hard to imagine a point where the science and business sectors meet.

Science has, in fact, been connected to innovation and by association, to business enterprise since the latter part of the 20th Century. An increase in scientific knowledge and the evolution of business was the catalyst of the emergence of a new class of entrepreneurial firms that connected business and science, the biotech sector. However, for most, the question remains, what exactly is the nature of the biotech sector and, how feasible is it?

The Origin of Biotechnology; A Tale of Success

According to academics, science is all about predictive power; the ability to use a cumulation of evidence to make accurate estimates. It is this predictive model that de-risks an idea, giving scientists the confidence they need to pursue research. This is the same in business. To de-risk an investment, one must look to the past, gather the evidence; whether it be from a fundamental or technical approach, and use it to predict future success. By applying this theory to the biotech sector, we can predict future success.

In the later decades of the 20th Century, elements of innovation and the connection between science and business began to converge. The emergence of biotech was the leading contributor towards the movement of science from the lab to the market,  

The history of biotech, which started with monoclonal antibodies, recombinant DNA and eventually stem cells, genomics and systems biology, saw entrepreneurial firms engage in raw science for the very first time (1). By integrating science into nuanced business platforms, biotech firms were not only were able to contribute to scientific advancement but were able to generate a substantial profit.

Consider the history of Genentech, the pioneer of biotechnology. Genentech was founded in the 1970s by Robert Swanson, a venture capitalist, and Herbert Boyer, a Nobel laureate biochemist. The company was created to exploit recombinant DNA technology, a technique allowing scientists to genetically engineer cells to produce human proteins. Genentech started as a pure research organisation and was only able to go public upon striking an agreement with Eli Lilly, a major pharmaceutical company that funded the commercialisation of the product and paid Genentech royalties on sales. This agreement broke the barriers between science and business and created a model that monetised intellectual property by enveloping science into the organisation of a for-profit firm.

Genentech’s success foretold a narrative of prosperity for biotech, setting the pace of change for thousands of bioscience and entrepreneurial firms founded over the 30 years that followed.

The data for leading biotech company, CSL Limited, reveals the sustainable and burgeon nature of this sector when pioneering, not only a better health future but a stable and highly profitable investment. The firm seeks to “Develop and deliver innovative biotherapies and influenza vaccines that save lives and help people with life-threatening medical conditions live full lives.” (3) Since its IPO listing in 1994, CSL Limited has grown a massive 54966% and shows stable growth, moving into the future.

From humble beginnings, science-based business has become the main driver of commercialisation for revolutionary technological advances. The biotechnology market size was valued at USD $449.06 billion in 2019 (4) and is projected to achieve 8.3% CAGR by 2025 (5). As such, biotech is viewed as a stimulus for national competitiveness, economic growth and future biotech innovation.

How The iQ Group Global Converges Science and Business?

The iQ Group Global (iQGG) is a consortium of companies that work together to find, fund and develop bioscience discoveries to create life-changing medical innovations.

The Group’s unique business model creates value out of scientific milestones by converging investment banking, scientific discoveries, research & development, corporate advisory and commercialisation to create investment opportunities to accelerate innovation and bring new biotech innovations to market.

From this unique value creation model, iQGG can translate scientific milestones into value creation events, not only to embrace, but pioneer the future of the biotechnology sector, showing how ethical science can be a profitable business.

“There was an unmet need to design a new kind of enterprise, one that forged business and science to bring medical innovations to the world from the lab side to bedside, whilst creating value along the way,” Group Chief Executive Officer of iQGG, Dr. George Syrmalis said.

“The history of biotech foretold success and the future is looking equally prosperous.”

Discover more about investing in bioscience.

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