Biotech: Health, Food, Manufacturing

Quick comment & question:

The biotech industry (& biotech research more generally) has 3 main areas:

    health biotech (new drugs, stem cell research, etc.)
    food biotech (GM crops, GM aquaculture, etc.)
    industrial biotech (using microbes & enzymes in manufacturing or, for example, in processing textiles or paper)

My sense is that the first gets 90% of the press, and the lion’s share of funding too.

My guess is that human health could turn out to be the least important of the 3, in the long run. Just a hunch. Don’t quote me. (Roughly: I think food security and the environmental benefits of industrial biotech are more likely to have significant long-term effects on human well-being.)

Doe anyone know where I can get stats on relative levels of investment — public and private — in each of the 3 areas? If so, please email me.


About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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1 Response to Biotech: Health, Food, Manufacturing

  1. Nan says:

    How can consumers have a more direct effect on the food industry practices? Sugar, for example, feeding global obesity which increases health costs long term for all. Even companies marketing as “Health food” boosting immunity like Lifeway Kefir whose product “tastes like dessert” and “boosts immunity” knowing full well that 22g of sugar in 8 oz of probiotic drink compromises the ability of white blood cells to fight bad bacteria, and increases yeast in the intestines. Coco Crispies is only a minor offender. And what can I do to insist that irradiated products like almonds be labelled as such? Nan

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