Keeping score: U.S. brainpower draws biotech R&D stateside

When it comes to advancing our understanding of biology and medicine, the U.S. is far and away a world leader and no other country even comes close to publishing as many scientific articles as the States, writes Forbes' Matthew Herper, who also explored the world's leaders in other fields such as information technology and alternative energy. 

Comparing countries' progress in basic research appears to be a key indicator of leadership in biotech R&D. In 2009, U.S. researchers scribed a whopping 250,000 scientific articles--four times as many as their counterparts in China or the U.K., wrote Herper, citing statistics provided by scientific publishing giant Elseveir's SciVal Analytics group.

Biotech executives in the U.S. and elsewhere know that their companies need to be tapping resources across the globe in order to compete. But the question becomes which resources and where to get them. European pharma majors like Novartis, Roche and Sanofi, and Japanese firms such as Takeda Pharmaceutical and Eisai, have plowed billions of dollars into expanding R&D ops in the U.S. over the past decade, betting on the scientific innovation in places like the Bay Area and Cambridge, MA, to fill their pipelines will new drugs.

Yet to win in the biotech business, companies understand that they need to spread the love into markets such as Brazil, China and India too. While China might not be making as many scientific discoveries as the U.S., it is now home to the world's largest DNA sequencing outfit BGI, which American and European groups are tapping to do sequencing experiments on a large scale. On the drug development front, both India and Brazil offer great places to find patients and CRO support for clinical trials.

Understanding this global game, Herper wrote: " scientist, and no country of scientists, operates in a vacuum. At the end of the day, research is a world-wide enterprise that transcends borders and culture. Collaboration is key."

- read the Forbes piece