tion of biotechnology motivates policy implications aimed at ensuring continued leadership and dynamism in the American biotechnology sector.
While there has been a great deal of academic and policy interest in the biotechnology industry, the scope and extent of the industry are loosely defined, and measures of its scope, size, and patterns of geographic activity depend on the specific definitions that are used (Kenney, 1986; Orsenigo, 1989; Cockburn, et al., 1999; Cortright and Mayer, 2002; van Beuzekom and Arundel, 2006). At the broadest level, biotechnology is an industry that includes the commercialization of life science innovations in the health, agriculture, and industrial sectors, which are often referred to as the “red,” “green,” and “white” biotechnology sectors, respectively. While the international biotechnology industry incorporates activities in all three biotechnology spheres, the bulk of policy and academic analysis have focused on “red” (i.e., health-oriented) biotechnology. Furthermore, although the majority of privately and publicly funded biotechnology enterprises have been located in the United States, the pattern of regional and international development is quite distinct for the red, green, and white divisions. Despite ambiguities in the scope of the industry and variation across the three subsectors, “cluster-driven” growth in biotechnology has emerged as a key economic development strategy for regions and nations at all levels of economic and technological prosperity (Cortright and Mayer, 2002; Feldman, 2003). Beyond its importance for economic development policy, biotechnology is also the setting for a very active debate across several social sciences about the drivers of clustering and the impact of globalization on the importance of location in innovation.
In this chapter we examine trends related to the geographic distribution of industrial biotechnological activity, focusing on the following broad questions: What are the key drivers of innovation within biotechnology, and how do these drivers influence patterns of regional development? What are the drivers of location and clustering within the biotechnology industry, and how does globalization impact the geography of the biotechnology industry? What are the main locational patterns within the biotechnology industry, both in terms of employment and firm formation and in terms of innovation and sales? What are the main strengths and limitations of publicly available data on the biotechnology industry? Finally, how does the current geography of the biotechnology industry impact contemporary debates over the potential for biotechnology to serve as a source of regional development, innovation, and improvements in human welfare?
Overall, our analysis suggests that biotechnology remains a clustered economic activity and relies strongly on interaction with science-based university research. However, the number of active clusters in biotechnology is increasing over time. An increasing number of distinct locations in the United States are home to a significant level of biotechnology activity, and an increasing number of countries around the world support modest to significant activity within the biotechnology industry. More notably, while many countries around the world now “host” a biotechnology industry of varying importance, the activity within most