OXFORD - European biotech companies are going to have to be more aggressive if they are to attract the levels of capital that are required to build truly sustainable businesses. While the amount of money flowing into European companies has been increasing steadily in recent years, it pales into insignificance when compared with the global volumes of biotech financing - mostly centered on the U.S. Indeed, so far this year, Europe's take of the total monies raised by the industry has slumped to 6 percent. There is a danger that European companies could find themselves being left behind.

"There are certainly several tangible facts that demonstrate that the European sector is much less mature than the U.S. sector. Two striking examples are product sales and the number of profitable companies," said Jane Fisken, director of private equity at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson. "There is now a similar number of companies in Europe and the U.S., but in Europe they are much smaller. The future development of European biotech could be on a similar path, but the key difference now is the discrepancy of the funds raised between U.S. and European biotech."