The long-term trend highlights some clear lessons. The US, while still the biggest source of all investment at 36%, is down from its all-time peak of 55% of all life science investment in Europe in 1999. Europeans must look at intra-European investment as their main source for these projects. This accounts for just over 50% of investment into the region. The major markets generating these investments are Germany and Switzerland, accounting for 28% of all investments in the first six months of 2004.

There has been a significant shift in the past seven years in key recipient markets in Europe. Central and eastern Europe’s market share reached an all-time high of 25% of all investment in life science coming into Europe. The main growth came from smaller, non-traditional markets in Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Slovenia and Slovakia.

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The UK retains its top spot for investment in Europe, accounting for 24% of all projects. Along with France, these two markets are the main locations for life science investment – though their combined high of 46% (in 1997) of all projects is now down to 37%. Ireland’s market share and number of investments have continued to decline, now standing at just 6%, its lowest point since 1998.

The lessons for Europe are clear: the main source of projects will be from inside Europe because the US, albeit the number one market for projects, will focus increasingly on the emerging markets of Asia.

Peter Lemagnen is a director of Oxford Intelligence. E-mail: peter.lemagnen@oxint.com