The biotechnology industry in Hessen employs nearly 20,000 people and achieves sales of about €5.2 billion. About 40% of the Hessen biotech companies are small or very small companies with less than 10 employees. About 14% of the companies employ more than 500 people and make a large contribution to overall employment.
The close proximity of global players such as Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland, Evonik, Fresenius and Merck, as well as innovative midsized companies such as Biotest or Stada, makes Hessen an ideal location for these networked companies.
Hessen's biotechnology industry is dominated by the so-called red sector, or medical biotechnology. The white sector encompasses industrial biotech and is growing steadily in importance. The share of green biotechnology – plant and food biotech – is relatively small in Hessen.
Nearly 56% of all Hessen’s biotechnology companies are active in research and development. The total expenditure for R&D is about 14.5% of sales. Base research is conducted in numerous renowned institutions such as the Max-Planck-Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Max-Planck-Institute for Physiological and Clinical Research in Bad Nauheim as well as the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research and the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt, The Paul-Ehrlich-Institute in Langen plays an important role in testing biotechnological developments. It operates as a supervisory agency for the approval and control of biotech medications, and its department "Medical Biotechnology" supports the work of the European Medicines Agency in London.
There is a particular strong symbiosis between universities and the biotechnology industry in Hessen. Numerous universities, universities of applied science and private training organizations are preparing students from all over the world for demanding tasks in the fields of biology, physics and chemistry.