Patents Drive the Economy

A Special Report in the Toledo Blade newspaper points out that Ohio’s economy is closely tied to innovation. Manufacturing job loss doesn’t explain why the economy is lagging in certain states, like Ohio. A study by the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank concluded that patents per-capita were the source of Ohio’s wealth. They cite a decrease in patents as the cause of the real cause of the state’s economic slump.

In looking at key statistics in several areas, including tax rates, government spending, education levels, and climate over 75 years, they found that tax levels and highway spending did not affect state income growth significantly. Also, a state’s concentration of industry, such as Ohio’s reliance on manufacturing, mattered only a little. What mattered most was a states’ patents per-capita. Ohio ranked sixth in the nation in per-capita patent generation in 1954. It fell to 11th in 1988. By 2001, Ohio fell to 20th, passed by new tech hubs such as Wisconsin, Utah, and Idaho. The reason given is that patents improve existing products and generate new ones that attract investors, profits and (ultimately) jobs.

What’s the World’s Fastest Supercomputer Used For?

Blawg Review Editor tipped us off about the newest $9 million supercomputer. RIKEN’s MDGrape-3 is the first machine to break the petaflop barrier — that’s 1 quadrillion calculations (floating-point operations, to be specific) per second — and it’s three times faster than the currently ranked fastest computer in the world, IBM’s BlueGene/L. MDGrape-3 isn’t officially the world’s fastest supercomputer – it can’t run the software that the official rankings demand. MDGrape-3 is designed for one thing, pharmaceutical research. More specifically, molecular dynamics simulation used in developing drugs. It can analyze tens of thousands of chemical compounds to find out how they’ll affect the protein-bonding structures in the human body. This is a good example of how biotech is driving computing. Experts believe that all the demand from biotech is going to boost our supercomputing power the same way the space race helped spur the development of the mainframe computers that were revolutionary for their time.

Biotech Deals Perk Up

The Boston Globe reported that after a quiet year for biotechnology, a sudden wave of mergers and buyouts has sparked interest in biotech. Gilead Sciences said it would buy drug developer Myogen Inc. of Colorado for $2.5 billion. Millennium Pharmaceuticals is in a half-billion-dollar bidding war against Genzyme over Canadian cancer-drug maker AnorMed Inc . And, Merck KGaA announced a $13 billion takeover of Serono SA , a Swiss biotech firm. The action is critical given that most biotechnology companies never turn a profit. Most new biotech companies depend on mergers and acquisitions to cash out.

About Biotech Guide Steps Down

After seven and a half years of running About Biotech, Yali Friedman, Ph.D. has decided to move on to concentrate on his full-time job with New Economy Strategies and to have more time to devote to his book, Building Biotechnology, and generally enjoying life in Washington DC. We will miss Yali for all he’s done, including bringing us Building Biotech, Biotech Blog, BioEconomy, DrugPatentWatch, Think Biotech and even the Send a DNA-o-Gram where you can send your message encoded as DNA sequencing.

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