The BioRevolution is not an image of the distant future. It’s steadily becoming a reality. Breakthroughs in biological science, along with the combination of exponential advances in data, analytics and other digital technologies, have made biological innovations a reality — and are even helpful in our fight against COVID-19, allowing for faster identification of the virus and more effective diagnostic testing. The benefits of biotechnology go beyond this, having wide-ranging advantages that can support business executives and boost overall economic competition.
Research from McKinsey Global Institute found that more than half of potential direct economic impacts from biotechnologies lie outside of healthcare. It has the power to contribute to a wide range of industries, including agriculture and food, energy and materials, and consumer products. These new advances have led to the emergence of crosscurrents, including the biological capabilities as a source of economic competition and even the growth of platform-based business models that accelerate and improve scientific discoveries.
As new players prepare to carve a spot in the market with biotech, incumbents invest in viable new companies. While it’s time to stay active, there’s also uncertainty around the development of technology and its commercialization, consumer adoption and call for the response of regulatory agencies along with new ethical issues and risk factors in biotech’s adoption.
Working through these business shifts and opportunities is vital for today’s leaders. Here’s how it can help boost economic competition as they navigate markets that are supported by biotech innovations.
A Source of Economic Competition — and Advantage
The Bio Revolution brings opportunities that will transform the way companies compete. Similar to the rise of data science and software engineering, new specialty skills will be required in molecular biology, biochemistry, genomics and neuroscience. The merging of digital skills with biological abilities is a desirable combination for many industries. Plus, the potentials of this tech create faster and affordable production methods, better performance and applications and provide added-value products and services to consumers. It’s no surprise we see a hotbed of interest in biotech investment opportunities.
Among the most desirable advantages are biotech’s cost-saving capabilities. Scalable fermentation and bioengineering processes are helping to replace traditionally expensive and often resource-draining production operations. For example, Amyris produces the moisturizing oil squalene in skin-care products through the fermentation of sugars and genetically engineered yeast. Traditionally, squalene has been gathered by processing the liver oil of deep sea sharks, which is expensive, unsustainable and not environmentally-friendly. However, this new production method provides a more efficient and pure means of sourcing squalene at value-saving cost. Developing a knowledge of biotech’s economic benefits will increasingly become an essential resource for those striving for a competitive edge in many business sectors.
New biological production methods also offer enhanced performance. The quality and characteristics of many products will be drastically improved. Tandem Repeat is a good example of biotech’s superior performance. They created self-repairing and biodegradable fabrics using proteins with squid genes, making it efficient, reusable and thus sustainable. Other companies are using innovative materials to meet consumer demand. Biotech company Zymergen created a renewable material for optical films. They now have scratch-proof coatings and flexible circuits. These biologically-enhanced inputs are prime to prove a wave of innovation forward for many scalable opportunities.
If companies are to compete, they will need to master their ability to innovate and the science behind creating such innovative products while scaling to industrial levels. Those companies who can maneuver scientific methods into these profitable business capabilities will be the victors. As companies navigate new biotech opportunities flooding the market, properly understanding the direct and indirect impacts of their business can help inform the decision to invest in this new tech. Whether companies decide to invest in biotech or not, identifying, assessing and executing a new marketplace with these innovations will be essential to build their knowledge in the Bio Revolution.