Life Sciences

Research-intensive, but most productive industry with the greatest growth potential

Technological progress, the increasing ageing of the population and the emergence of a new middle class in the emerging markets are forecasting great opportunities for the life sciences industry in the future. The life sciences industry group refers to the manufacture of medical and life-saving goods. In addition to the production and development of medicines, this also includes the manufacture of diagnostic and orthopaedic instruments, the manufacture of vaccines, etc. The production of life sciences products is an important part of the life sciences industry. The research-intensive activities combine know-how from various disciplines such as pharmacy, medicine, neurology, microbiology and other technological research fields. In order to quantitatively record and track these interdisciplinary activities, BAK defines the life sciences activities as an aggregate of the pharmaceutical industry, medical technology and research in biotechnology, based on expert opinions and common practice. This definition is more detailed than the usual sector breakdown in official statistics. BAK has included these sub-sectors in its model world. This allows detailed mapping and long-term monitoring of the life sciences industry in national and international comparisons.

Core project "Monitoring Life Sciences Locations

The core of monitoring is a comprehensive database. This database contains indicators to measure economic performance and the importance of the life sciences industry at regional and national level. The database contains a wide range of indicators on regional and national framework and location conditions as well as on the life sciences market. The project "Monitoring Life Sciences Locations" currently comprises 16 international regions and 15 different countries. The time dimension extends from 1980 to the previous year.

The exclusive database of the project "Monitoring Life Sciences Locations" is updated once a year. If necessary, additional Life Sciences locations will be integrated into the database. This allows up-to-date and relevant benchmarking of the various leading and emerging life sciences locations.

Life Sciences Report, Executive Summary 2011/2012

Life Sciences Barometer

The Life Sciences Barometer evaluates the performance and framework conditions for the life sciences industry of a selected region, both in comparison to competing regions and over time. The construction of two indices, the Economic Performance Index and the Framework Conditions Index, facilitates the respective comparisons. The detailed presentation of the indicators used in the barometer enables the causes of changes to be traced and understood. The aim is to identify possible problem areas and opportunities for improvement promptly in order to provide a helpful information tool for business, politics and lobby organisations, which find themselves in a highly competitive environment.

The two sub-indices of the Life Sciences Barometer both consist of several sub-indicators. The index "Performance" describes the economic performance, the index "Framework conditions" the framework conditions of the local life sciences industry. The distinction between "performance" and "framework conditions" makes it possible to differentiate between the different areas of impact.


The indicators contained in the "Monitoring Life Sciences Locations" project can be summarised by five main fields:

AreaIndicators per area
Performance Indicators    
  • gross value added
  • umber of persons in employment
  • hourly productivity
Life Sciences Drivers 
  • pharmaceutical sales
  • population growth
  • demographic change
  • physician density
General Framework 
  • reachability
  • Product and labour market regulation
  • Taxation of companies and highly qualified employees
  • Competitiveness of the intermediate industry
  • Existence of international schools
Life sciences-specific framework conditions 
  • labour costs
  • acceptance of biotechnology and genetic engineering
Capacity for innovation 
  • entrepreneurship
  • venture capital
  • availability of highly qualified employees
  • R&D expenditure
  • patents
  • publications
  • quality of local universities
Source: BAK Economics 

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