What is biotechnology?

The OECD defines biotechnology as follows: “The application of science and technology to living organisms, as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or nonliving materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services.” By this definition, biotechnology could be called a multidisciplinary science that embraces physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, material sciences and information technology as well as biology and biochemistry.

Going into greater detail, biotechnology comes in different colors: white, green and red. Red biotechnology – also known as medical biotechnology – is a relatively young but all the more important discipline that has emerged on the back of modern genome research. Red biotechnology is mainly about developing and improving drugs and diagnostics.

The steady rise in biologics and attractive earnings opportunities are blurring the lines between the pharmaceutical industry and the biotech industry. Many pharmaceutical giants have expanded into biotechnology in addition to their traditional business, in some cases (for drug companies with deep pockets) through acquisitions.