sciences13

InnovAction Life Sciences

Author: Action Institute

Date: 27 December 2015

Type: Policy Brief

Topic: Innovation

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Italian economy, as the latest data suggest (GDP + 0.6%), seems on the path to recovery. To return to a sustained growth, however, the country must not only repair its fractured economy, but must also invest in the new sectors that are driving global innovation: the digital economy as well as the life sciences. Action Institute, through the InnovAction project, has already written about the Italian digital economy and how it could contribute to the country’s new growth. Today, we want to briefly survey another key sector, life sciences.

The Policy Brief highlights that there is a large space in which to manoeuvre to boost the already productive life sciences sector. Action finds four critical points in the legislative system that, if modified, could potentially further increase the sector’s efficiency and innovative potential.

First of all, overcoming the “Academic Privilege” by shifting patents’ ownership to universities instead of individual inventors would put the sector in line with its global peers. This reform, together with a revision of the criteria for the allocation of public funds among universities and the transformation of the Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) into highly specialized profit centres, have the potential to create a much more favourable ecosystem for the sector’s innovation and profitability.

Fiscal incentives as well, however, need to adapt in order to further promote R&D. During 2015, lawmakers have already introduced new instruments such as the tax credit and the Patent Box to support these investments. Action recommends to further enhance these instruments by (1) shifting to indefinite extension for the tax credit and (2) aligning the Patent Box with the more favourable tax structures applied in other EU countries.

Lastly, Action recommend changes to the sector’s financing structure by (1) overcoming the current logic of public transfers and (2) promoting an incentive package for venture capital firms to start playing a national and not regional role.

The proposal below aims to develop practical solutions to enhance the Life Sciences sector in Italy in terms of capacity to produce research and to create links with the business to be submitted to policy-makers.


The Policy Brief is organized into 5 sections:

i. Scenario
ii. Patents
iii. Technology Transfer
iv. Finance
v. Tax incentives


Credit

Let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and jobs.

Herbert Hoover

Health

Good health is essential to social and economical development and it empowers all of the public sectors.

World Health Organization

Innovation

Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.

Peter Drucker

Human Capital

Talent is a source from which water flows constantly renewed. But this source loses its value unless it is properly used.

Ludwig Wittgenstein