Turkey should accelerate its steps in biotechnology

Turkey should accelerate its steps in biotechnology

The annual BIO International Convention was held in San Francisco last week. In this, the world’s biggest biotechnology event, Turkey has been represented by an increasing number of people every year, but significant steps should now be taken in terms of quality.  

The Turkish delegation’s participation in the convention was organized by the independent think tank, the Economic Policy and Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV). This year’s Turkish delegation at the convention was dominated by public administrators. 

It was indeed an important step that members of the Health Industries Steering Council (SEYK) were able to explain their work to investors at the convention. In fact, the formation of the SEYK toward the end of last year and its holding of intense meetings were important steps by themselves. However, biotechnology competition globally has increased so much, and developing countries have their eyes set so firmly on it, that Turkey needs to accelerate its steps. It needs to make concrete moves as soon as possible with a clever strategy. 

MSD Health Policies Director Deniz Öncel said they had reached a good phase but several more concrete steps are now needed. “But beyond the prioritized technology transfer projects, it is more important to have a framework on how Turkey can become more competitive in biotechnology, R&D, production, investment, management and technology transfer,” Öncel said.

The private sector must be included in the business and should participate in SEYK meetings, Öncel also said, adding that the private sector’s practical experience should be taken into account while forming a vision and policy. This would enable Turkey to reach its goals faster in a race that it has been relatively late in joining.

Best practices 

Öncel also said Turkey needs a boost in the biotechnology field. It needs more ideas and more entrepreneurs. As the number of ideas and companies increases, the value of innovation will be better understood as these companies would be receiving investments. With companies being bought by multinational companies and by going public, Turkey will attract more international investors, she added. 

“If we want to be among the important players in this sector, where there is cutthroat competition, then we do not have the luxury to stop,” Öncel said.

She also expressed hope that by the time of next year’s BIO international conference, several advanced innovations would be presented including an international-standard patent law, projects supported by major funds, successful technology transfer contracts, startups with investors, and incentives designed with the participation of the private sector in SEYK meetings. 

Öncel said they were supportive as a company, and hoped that startups at the convention for the first time this year would succeed in making fruitful contacts and attracting investments.