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Bath spinout company shakes up bioscience sector

A Bath spinout company, CiteAb the antibody search engine, has released data today that suggests that bioscience research in China is set to overtake the United States within the next five to ten years.
CiteAb has a database containing over 1.8m antibodies from suppliers all over the world, and uses academic research citations to rank antibodies. This gives the company a solid overview of the amount of research being carried out in over 100 different countries.
Founder of CiteAb, Dr Andrew Chalmers from the Department of Biology & Biochemistry, said: “Our data highlights the number of academic research papers using antibodies that are produced by each country, and therefore acts as a fantastic indicator of bioscience research activity around the world.
“The data we’ve pulled from CiteAb clearly shows that China is the big winner at the moment. The United States has been the most productive nation in bioscience research for a long time, but has seen a gradual decrease in output since 2010.
“Conversely, China’s output has been growing enormously since around 2009 and if current trends continue we expect to see China overtake the USA by 2019. To counter this, the USA will need to increase investment in bioscience research.”
Neal Kitchen is product manager for Thermo Scientific, a company that supplies products to the bioscience sector. Speaking about research activity in the USA he said: “The general outlook is that the budget position in the US is mostly stagnant. NIH funding is showing a slight increase this year, but it isn’t enough for labs to feel comfortable with expanding and taking on the more aggressive or ambitious projects. ‘Caution’ seems to still be the theme, which limits the amount of money labs are willing to spend.”
Pictured is a prediction for future research outputs based on current trends, showing China overtaking the USA.
Data published by the company also suggests that Japan’s share of the world’s bioscience output has gradually fallen since 2009.
Dr Chalmers adds: “A continued drop in Japanese bioscience research output is likely to cause the country to fall from second in the world in 2009 down to fifth. Germany and Britain appear to remain stable, so they are likely to become the third and fourth most active bioscience research nations as Japan drops down.”
It was recently announced by the Economist that bioscience research spend is moving East, with China’s funding increasing by 33 per cent a year between 2007 and 2012, whereas the United States saw a decrease of 2 per cent a year. The States total share of research funding shrank from 51 per cent in 2007 to just 45 per cent in 2012.
Dr Chalmers said: “We know that China’s most recent five year plan makes research in this sector a priority for the country, and the data we’re extracting from CiteAb demonstrates that this policy is having a direct impact on the quantity of research we see coming out of the country.
“The quality is also there – we can see that an increasing number of papers from Chinese researchers are being published by top journals. Cell now runs a number of spotlight articles focused on China’s research and a number of Nature’s 2013 research highlights were focused on Chinese work.”
CiteAb spun out of the University of Bath just one week ago, and is already providing valuable market data. Data is generated from processing thousands of academic research papers, providing a unique insight into the state of the sector – which antibody suppliers are growing and claiming market share, which countries are most active in research in this field, and other interesting insights to the sector.
Graham Fisher, Research Commercialisation Manager for the University of Bath’s Enterprise and Knowledge Exploitation team, was heavily involved in the development and spin out of the company. He said: “CiteAb provides a top notch service to researchers, and also deals with huge amounts of research data. It is clear from this announcement from CiteAb regarding growth markets that this data is highly valuable to companies supplying the bioscience sector. We’re all very excited about the future for CiteAb.”
This data has been taken from the first CiteAb market report, which is available from the company here.

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