Developing a biotechnology industry is often local policymakers’ pet project in the U.S. and elsewhere, because it can generate large numbers of high-quality jobs, provide impressive returns to local investors, and help expand the foundation of innovative activities in a community. A rare case in Latin America, Buenos Aires is now known for its rapidly growing biotechnology industry.
Despite a number of significant local challenges, many Argentine entrepreneurs have emerged from production-focused, pharmaceutical businesses to launch successful research-focused biotechnology companies. In order to better understand the development of this sector, Endeavor Insight conducted detailed interviews with local biotechnology entrepreneurs and executives over the course of 2015. The report has found that:
- The Argentine biotechnology industry now includes more than 100 companies, most of which are located in the greater Buenos Aires area.
- These biotechnology businesses employ more than 8,000 skilled workers and produce millions of dollars in annual sales.
- The pharmaceutical industry provided a lot of the human capital necessary for the development of the biotechnology industry, a sector that has famously high demand for highly qualified workers.
Other cities have a number of lessons learn from the story of the Buenos Aires biotechnology sector. Three main lessons are:
- Entrepreneurship can be successful and thrive in challenging places – despite a number of economic and political challenges, Argentina produced one of the most competitive biotech hubs of the world.
- When entrepreneurs can build on existing strengths and capabilities, new local industries can flourish – the biotechnology industry in Buenos Aires likely would not have grown as quickly, if at all, if not for the existence of a well-established production-focused pharmaceutical sector and a large population of talented potential employees.
- A few successful entrepreneurs can make a difference when they reinvest their success in the next generation of entrepreneurs.
To learn more about Endeavor Insight’s research on the development of the Buenos Aires biotech industry, please click here.