The Impact of Genomics on the World's Economy Genomics, the science of manipulating, building, studying, and designing molecules, is going to change the face of the world's economy as we know it. Companies are rushing to adapt to the rapidly changing economic environment as new discoveries are being made in this field. Genomics has the potential to affect all aspects of every sort of industry. Since genomics deals with things on a molecular level, its technology can be applied to everything, most notably computers, energy, environmental, cosmetics, chemical, food, agricultural, biotech, and pharmaceuticals. The change genomics has made to the economy has already created a whole new economic sector, the life sciences.
Genomics technology is developing so rapidly that it appears to be on course to overwhelm current knowledge bases and research and development budgets. To compensate for this some of the world's largest companies are working out the details for gigantic megamergers.
Some of the recent mergers are an example of the things to come. Two pharmaceutical companies, Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy, merged to create a new company, Novartis. The largest pharmaceutical merger in history, this new company is valued at over $100 billion. A near merger between Glaxo and SmithKline would have created the world's third largest company, with a budget large enough to fund the estimated cost of sequencing the human genome. Its capitalization would have been larger than the annual gross national product of some 143 of the world's nations (Enriquez 925).
These mergers also allow the companies to combine their knowledge pools to gain an edge in the race to acquire licensing agreements and patents. In 1991 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office got 4000 requests for patents on gene sequences. In 1996 the requests for patents on gene sequences shot up to 500,000 (Enriquez 925).