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The United States remains the output powerhouse

Many of the Scorecard metrics—infrastructure quality, enterprise support and so on—measure a country’s biotechnology innovation inputs. At the end of the day, biotech is a business, and if you were to use a single metric to evaluate a nation’s strength in biotechnology, it would be gross productivity. We measure productivity here with two metrics: Publicly traded company revenues and the number of publicly traded companies (Morrison, C. & Lähteenmäki, R. Nat. Biotechnol. 33, 703–709 (2015), and company disclosures). Publicly traded companies are the best place to start for measuring productivity, because they must be more transparent—due to their reporting requirements—than private firms, which makes it easier to objectively compare them. Also, the number of publicly traded companies in a country and how they perform serves as an indicator of the health of its overall business environment. In contrast, it’s difficult to gain much insight from private-company data, since starting a private biotech can be as simple as registering a business name with the local government offices, whereas the requirements for public listing are far more extensive.

The established leader in this category—by a large margin—is the United States. Australia and the United Kingdom follow in second and third place, as they have for many years. (For in-depth coverage of trends for publicly listed biotechnology companies, see "WorldVIEWGuide")