The World’s Biotech Hotspots

Biotechnology is an industry that has always been centered around a culture of innovation and collaboration on a global scale. In this article, you’ll find an overview of some of the key hotspots in the biotech industry.

International collaborations are a constantly recurring theme in the life sciences. 6 of the 10 largest deals in 2022 crossed country borders, with the remainder focused on the US. The global nature of the industry was especially highlighted in response to COVID-19 through collaborations such as between Pfizer and BioNtech, and Sanofi and GSK.

The Biotechgate Business Development Database has 59 countries represented under the banner of Biotechnology – Therapeutics and Diagnostics. We picked the following five hotspots and had a closer look at their biotech and pharma industry:

  • United States of America
  • United Kingdom
  • China (Mainland)
  • Canada
  • Switzerland

United States of America

The United States has long been a leader in the biotech industry, and it continues to maintain its position as a top player in the field. The country has a highly developed biotech sector, with a variety of established companies, start-ups, and research institutions focused on a wide range of areas across biotechnology. The US is home to many of the world’s leading biopharma companies, such as Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Gilead Sciences. The US government also provides significant funding for biotech research through agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Key hotspots in the US include both San Francisco and San Diego in California, along with Boston and New York on the east coast. One particularly concentrated area for R&D is the Research Triangle Park situated in North Carolina. Big pharma organizations such as GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk, and Eli Lilly have facilities here. 

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is another country that is experiencing significant growth in its biotech industry. The country is home to a number of research institutions, such as the University of Cambridge and the Francis Crick Institute, as well as many biotech start-ups and established companies. The UK has a particular focus on biotech areas such as gene therapy, cell therapy, and synthetic biology. In addition to this, the country’s government has announced a Life Sciences Vision strategy which plans to increase funding given to UK life science organizations to GBP 1bn and support the growth and development of its biotech industry.

China (Mainland)

China has a strong indigenous focus on biotechnology. The country has invested heavily in biotech R&D in recent years, especially amid COVID-19 where a number of vaccines were developed by Chinese companies. China is home to a growing number of both start-ups and large organizations and has established several biotech hubs in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The Chinese government has also introduced a number of policies and initiatives to support the growth of the biotech industry, such as tax incentives and funding for research and development.


One area where Canada has shown particular strength in the biotech industry is in the development of vaccines and treatments for diseases. Canadian companies such as VBI Vaccines were tasked with producing a COVID-19 vaccine by the Canadian government, while other organizations such as AbCellera and Zymeworks are focused on the development of novel biologic drugs for the treatment of diseases such as cancer.


Switzerland‘s biotech industry has a strong focus on pharmaceuticals, with a number of leading global companies, such as Novartis and Roche, based in the country. Outside of these, though, Switzerland is home to an array of biotech SMEs, particularly in Basel, Geneva, and Zurich. According to the 2022 Swiss Biotech Report, total life science exports reached a record level of CHF 109bn with the country earning a reputation as one of Europe’s key life science hubs.

Emerging Hotspots

As well as a stream of start-ups constantly being formed in the aforementioned places, other countries are also fostering their own biotech industry. These include countries in Asia like Singapore, South Korea, and India. Brazil has also been subject to an increase in biotech activity. On the back of government supports and an increase in investment, both foreign and domestic, then these countries can continue their growth trajectory in the biotech industry.