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Denmark drives its biotech industry harder than anyone else, for six years running

If IP Protection is the keystone supporting the pieces of a nation’s biotechnology sector, Intensity is the combination of focus, diligence, tools and commitment of the team putting them together. This category consists of measurements adjusted for population size and economy, so that countries large and small can compete equally. The leaders in this race provide the best settings for biotechnology growth, because they emphasize it the most.

Intensity involves data from a variety of sources, including publicly traded biotech firms (Morrison, C. & Lähteenmäki, R. Nat. Biotechnol. 33, 703–709 (2015), and company disclosures). The “publicly traded biotechnology company employees per capita” component is calculated by dividing employee counts by the country’s population (U.S. Census Bureau International Database). For “publicly traded biotechnology company revenues per GDP,” we used the nation’s GDP (IMF World Economic Outlook Database). The data for “biotech patents per total patents” (filed with the Patent Cooperation Treaty) and “business expenditures on biotechnology R&D” came from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Value added of knowledge- and technology-intensive industries” was sourced from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Science and Engineering Indicators.

On a six-year run at the top of this category, Denmark remains the Scorecard’s Intensity leader. Its neighbors in the top three—the United States and Australia—also earn a three-peat, having held the top spots in this category since 2014. Last year, Spain displaced Singapore for fourth place, due to a surge in the proportion of biotechnology patent applications filed there, and this year New Zealand displaced Spain for the same reason.