A little over a million people are employed in the core life science industry in the Asia Pacific region, estimates BioSpectrum. A similar number is employed in the related industries taking the total number of people employed in the life sciences industry to 2.3 million.
The related industries include the life science education sector and the allied industry segments. The industry segments included conform to the BioSpectrum life science industry definition broadly including pharmaceutical, medical devices and biotechnology industries.
According to the first ‚ÄúBioSpectrum Asia Life Science HR Survey‚ÄĚ, which was conducted as a part of the publication‚Äôs annual exercise‚ÄďBioSpectrum Asia Pacific Top 20 Survey, 74 percent of these employees are in India and China, with India alone accounting for over 50 percent. This is followed by Australia with about 250,000 people depending on the life science industry for employment.
With the exception of South Korea and Taiwan rest of the countries barely make for less than one percent of this 2.3 million human resource pool. The survey estimates are a result of a sampling exercise of the overall industry corroborated with the market experts across Asian countries.
The average CEO compensation in the Asia Pacific life science industry stood at $2.23 million in 2008. South Korea emerged as the country with the highest CEO compensation average of over $10 million with India lagging behind at No 2 position at an average of $1.74 million.
According to BioSpectrum estimates, across geographies the highest number of well paid CEOs are in the revenue band of $100-300 million. The estimation is based on the survey of publicly listed companies in the Asia Pacific region and the extrapolations with respect to the private sector.
In India, the most well paid CEOs were in the revenue band of companies over $600 million. Most CEOs in Australia which has the highest number of companies in the sub-$10 million revenue range made on an average just about $0.21 million in 2008.
The revenue band of $10-50 million was a great leveler with CEOs across countries heading companies in this revenue range made thereabout same in their annual compensation. The variation was the minimum in this range.
Are We Ready to ride This Growth Wave
In 2008, faced with a recessionary trend, most big pharma companies announced job cuts to reduce costs and improve productivity. IMS Health notes that to overcome mounting losses, big pharmas have cut more than 100,000 jobs since 2002 and are increasing investments in emerging Asian markets such as China, India and Singapore.
The global economic crisis has hit the companies in the Asian region and as a result, Asian companies have closed their operations in the West. Companies like China‚Äôs WuXi Pharmatech has cut 100 jobs in the biologics manufacturing and supporting positions at its Philadelphia facility in the US, Shasun Chemicals from India gave pink slips to about 86 people when it closed its Scotland facility and Benitec from Australia too announced job cuts.
However, things have improved slightly in the first six months of 2009 and companies have started hiring. On June 15, Indian pharma major, Dr Reddy‚Äôs Laboratories announced that it will hire 1,300 people in various roles this year. A large chunk of this would be through campus recruitments, in which over one-third would be women.
Similarly, multinational drug maker MSD Pharmaceuticals announced that it is getting unconditional support from its headquarters in the US to grow and invest in India and looking to increase its headcount from 700 to 1,000 this year, in India.
According to Naukri JobSpeak, a monthly job update for April 2009 index released by Naukri.com, India‚Äôs top jobsite, hiring activity in pharma and biotech in India has gone up by 4 percent from 971 in March to 1005 in April 2009.
The situation in Singapore is similar. The companies are looking for talents in research and development as big pharmas are opening their R&D centers in Singapore. And GlaxoSmithKline which celebrated its 50th anniversary of doing business in Singapore has opened its new $411.77 million vaccine plant. The GSK biologics‚Äô plant, which will be fully operational by 2011, will have staff strength of 200.
Alcon, the world‚Äôs leading manufacturer of eye-care products, commenced construction of its first Asian pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Singapore. The 330,000 sq ft plant, expected to be complete in 2012, will require 150 employees. Similarly, Roche Diagnostics announced that it will hire more people as it expects the markets to improve
Singapore, emerging as the biomedical hub for the region, is a base of more than 50 global pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies that are carrying out R&D, along with 30 public-sector research and medical institutes. Global biomedical sciences companies invested more than $500 million in Singapore in 2008. This rides on Singapore‚Äôs strong scientific fundamentals, with biomedical sciences R&D expenditure exceeding $760 million in 2007.
Over 130 global biomedical sciences companies have leveraged on Singapore‚Äôs world-class manufacturing capabilities. In all there are 12,450 people working in biomedical sciences manufacturing that includes 4,169 in pharmaceutical and 8,281 in medical technology sectors. Biotech sector employed 1,174 in R&D, manufacturing and other operations in 2008. Quoting the data collected by Statistic New Zealand, Ms Bronwyn Dilley, Chief Executive, New Zealand‚Äôs Biotechnology Industry Organization (NZBIO) says, ‚ÄúThere are over 168 self identified organizations involved in biotechnology in New Zealand, which reflects a 33 percent increase from 2005 to 2007. The majority of this recent growth has come from small focused biotechnology firms, consistent with a vibrant industry in strong growth mode creating and building new companies.‚ÄĚ She further adds, ‚ÄúThere was a significant increase of 78 percent in core sector biotechnology (companies focused on the production of biotechnology goods and services) employees between 2005 and 2007, with the greatest increase being amongst technical and trade qualified staff.‚ÄĚ
According to AusBiotech, the trade body comprising biotechnology companies operation in Australia, there are at least 1,100 companies in the Australian biotechnology sector (460 covering human therapeutics and diagnostics, plus 636‚ÄĒ1,000 medical device companies, plus ‚Äėcleantech‚Äô industrial companies and those in the agriculture sector.) The industry currently provides an estimated 40,000 direct jobs in the biotech and pharmaceuticals sector, plus at least 10,320 in the medical technology sector in Australia. In addition, there are many thousands of direct jobs in the agricultural and industrial biotechnology sectors and indirect jobs in dependent areas such as clinical trial teams, medical research and supplies to the medical technology sector and in services such as patent attorneys. These are high-skilled jobs with longterm prospects.
Sharing views about the market in Indian pharma industry, Mr N R Munjal, President, Indian Drug Manufacturers‚Äô Association (IDMA) and Vice-Chairman, Ind-Swift Laboratories said, ‚ÄúThe National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority had, in a recent study figured that there are a total of 10,563 pharmaceutical manufacturers in India, 8174 or 77.4 percent manufacture ‚Äėformulation‚Äô drugs and remaining 22.6 percent are engaged in manufacturing of bulk drugs (APIs).
The number of the units remain more or less around this figure; however, a few more units may have wound up or temporarily shut down production in the last few months, due to the economic slowdown and problems in payment cycles. The domestic pharma industry employs about half-a-million people directly and another two-and-a-half indirectly. According to some industry estimates, in all the Indian pharmaceutical industry employs over 4.2 million personnel, both in manufacturing and ancillary sectors.
Sharing information about the medical devices market in Thailand, Mr Noppadol Taweetungworapan, President, ThaiMed, notes that there are 1,200 medical device companies that are registered under the FDA Thailand and the Medical devices industry is growing at rate of 15 percent in the country. About 5,000 people are working in the Medical devices sector in Thailand. According to Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), as on December 31, 2007, a total of 235 pharmaceutical companies with Good Manufacturing Practices certification have registered with the Drug Control Authority (DCA) of the Ministry of Health.
The numbers of biotech companies are likely to touch 100 in the next couple of years from the current level of 46. According to Malaysia Medical Device Association (MMDA), there are about 200 to 300 companies operating in the country. About 65,000 people are working in life sciences industry (24,600‚ÄĒpharma manufacturing, 1,000 in research and development in biotechnology and the remaining in medical devices sector) in Malaysia.
The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in South Korea showed an annual growth rate of 10.1 percent and 18.1 percent respectively from 2001-2006. Among others, bio food, biomedicine, and bio environment posted high growth rates of 62.4 percent, 31 percent and 18.5 percent respectively from 2002-2006.
According to Korean Ministry of Education, Science & Technology, South Korea has over 700 pharmaceutical companies, 600 bio venture firms and about 70 companies are listed on KOSDAQ. According to the industry estimates, the number of people employed in pharmaceutical industry for 2007 was about 12,000 including research and manufacturing (in 800 companies). About 20,500 are working in biotechnology sector which has over 800 companies and the medical technology sector (close to 2000 companies) provides employment to close to about 30,000 workers.
China Pharmaceutical Industry Association (CPIA), a non-governmental, non-profit association has 378 members, the industrial output value of which (added together) is nearly up to 80 percent of China‚Äôs pharmaceutical industry. According to government figures, China has about 3,500 drug companies, falling from more than 5,000 in 2004. The number is expected to drop further. Over a million people are employed with the pharmaceutical manufacturing in China. In all six million people are working in pharma and allied sectors.
Governments around the world are putting their support and stimulus-package dollars behind innovative industries of the future, especially biotechnology and life sciences. As President Obama put it in his first address to the US Congress: ‚ÄúThe answers to our problems ‚Ä¶ exist in our laboratories and our universities, in our fields and our factories, in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
The US government‚Äôs $789 billion stimulus plan includes investments in science and health‚ÄĒsuch as $10 billion to conduct biomedical research in areas like cancer, Alzheimer‚Äôs, heart disease and stem cells‚ÄĒas well as significant investments in energy, including renewable energy and green technology.
China will pump $8 billion into developing its biotechnology capability and infrastructure over the next two years. Taiwan‚Äôs President Ma Yingjeou declared the nation‚Äôs research and development capability essential to economic recovery and promised to increase the country‚Äôs R&D budget to equal three percent of the Taiwan‚Äôs GDP. Singapore government has invested in more than $3.33 billion in building up industrial, human and intellectual capital thus far, and remains fully committed to developing this sector. Singapore has committed $1.03 billion to drive translational and clinical research. To over come, the global economic crisis, Singapore has launched programs specifically targeted at helping global businesses based in Singapore retain and enhance their talent base. In January, this year, the Singapore government announced a $14 billion resilience package that includes the Jobs Credit scheme and Economic Development Board‚Äôs PREP-UP initiative.
The current situations will open up opportunities for Malaysian pharma industry in the areas like cheap biological drugs, oncology, diabetes, and cardiovascular. The government is supporting the industry in the form of tax reliefs to overcome the current crisis like any other governments. Also, it is promoting Malaysia as an international destination for healthcare sectors. Like in other countries biotechnology has been identified as one of the five core technologies that will accelerate Malaysia‚Äôs transformation into an industrialized nation by 2020.
Similarly, government of India is investing $200 million in setting up a vaccine complex in Chennai in South India and investing $250 million in niche and upcoming nanotechnology. To create job opportunities and to fulfill the healthcare needs of the public, governments in the region are creating infrastructure in research and development. The above moves, initiatives and stimulus packages from various governments and the paradigm shift in the focus of the big pharmas towards Asian region by opening of manufacturing and research and development centers will create the need for skilled talents as the jobs of the future will be found in innovative industries‚ÄĒlike biotechnology.