Many European biotech companies are running out of cash, according to a recent report by accountancy firm Ernst and Young.
The study found that the sector leapt in value by 66 per cent to £11bn in 1999, following two years of decline. But a 'survival index' in the report showed that a fifth of companies has less than a year's worth of funds in the bank.
Consultant Glenn Crocker said that the industry was emerging from a range of harsh financial conditions, adding that 'the fittest have survived and evolved into stronger entities'. Many biotech firms have boosted their funding following strategic alliances with big pharmaceutical companies.
Meanwhile, firms that offer limited access to human genome databases, usually with multimillion dollar subscription fees, are trying to attract customers from the academic world. Firms such as Incyte Genomics have private databases of thousands of human genes, previously available only to big drug companies. But Incyte is now offering to provide individual genes and their DNA sequences from $3000. Some scientists say that although they'd prefer genomic data to be free, the services could be a useful way to find a rare gene or an alternative to sending samples to a lab.
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A cheaper way to buy genomic data