Since adopting the National Biotechnology Strategy in 2001, the South African government has established several regional innovation centres and has put in place initiatives to encourage international partnerships that can spur internal development of life science ventures. This strategy seeks to capitalize on the high quality of research carried out in public research institutions and universities but is hampered, somewhat, by the lack of entrepreneurial culture among South African researchers due to, among other reasons, the expenses involved in registering foreign patents. Although private sector development is still relatively embryonic, start-ups are spinning out of universities and pre-existing companies. These represent a vital source of innovations for commercialization in the future, provided that the challenges facing the emerging South African biotechnology industry can be overcome. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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