Large agricultural biotechnology companies account for the lion’s share of biotechnology research and development in agriculture. And that’s not likely to change soon. A new study, conducted by Bio Economic Research Associates (bio-era), offers an assessment of the evolving structure of the agricultural biotechnology industry and the key challenges facing industry participants.

While many small research and development companies have already ceased to exist due to lack of funds, companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Dow, Bayer and BASF have the R & D capability, financial depth, and intellectual property assets to support long, costly and risky new product development cycles. In 2002, large agrochemical firms accounted for 66% of U.S. field trials of genetically modified organisms, up from 37% in 1998.

While more than 180 organizations are involved in agricultural biotechnology, the top eight firms accounted for 69% of research and development activity in 2002. The top four accounted for 57%.

The study, “Agricultural Biotechnology at the Crossroads, Part I: The Changing Structure of the Industry,” is available at no charge on bio-era's Web site: