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Biotechnologies in Sardinia

Researcher working in the lab
According to the 2007 Blossom & Company-Assobiotec report, Sardinia ranks sixth among the regions of Italy for number of biotech enterprises and is number one in southern Italy.

This is a sign of the dynamism of life science and biotechnology on the island, generated by a number of factors, including:

- the Regional administration’s strong institutional support to and investment in R&D activities
- the catalysing role played by the Technology Park of Sardinia
- the presence of a major nucleus of scientific expertise and knowledge and of high-profile research teams in the ICT and life science sectors (computational medicine, bioinformatics, pharmacology, molecular genetics, molecular oncology and epidemiology), able to work on the joint development of industrial applications
- gene pools - human, animal and plant – with unique characteristics of global interest, non reproducible in other contexts (genetic isolates).

Closely linked to the study of genetic isolates is scientific research on some diseases that are highly prevalent in Sardinia and have a strong genetic predisposition component:
- diabetes mellitus
- multiple sclerosis
- thalassemias
- Other conditions, such as coeliac disease and rare diseases such as Wilson’s disease or autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome, type I.

For these reasons, biotechnologies, in particular those applied to healthcare, are a priority sector for the Region’s policies and programmes targeting innovation and the development of a knowledge-based economy.

Regional economic and financial planning has recognised the strategic value of pharma and biotech research, identifying specific priority actions. Main actions include the creation of new research labs, the attraction of researchers of international standing, and the creation of districts and clusters of innovative enterprises able to compete on international markets.

Furthermore, the strategic priorities of the Regional Health Plan include giving new impetus to biomedical research in Sardinia, through the setting up and operation of large R&D facilities, the provision of financial support to research teams and centres of excellence already operating on the island and investment in new research.