What I find so interesting about this article is the way the ACS self monitors and polices it's direction.
I found this timeline more than interesting. It shows an industry that developed out of necessity in national defense and otherwise to an industry on the verge of improving lives to the point of carefree living.
The ACS sees the birth of Green Chemistry and it's continued growth to bring about a culture of concern for the well being of Earth and it's people.
Using this definition, we have seen glimpses of biotechnology-based products going back to the 19th century. The archetype of such a scientific contribution was Louis Pasteur’s novel insistence that each fermentation process can be traced to a specific living microorganism. This inspired changes in brewing practices to ensure healthy conditions for the growth of these microorganisms—practices that are used to this day.
The biotechnology industry is unusual in that it is defined, not by a set of products, but by a set of enabling technologies, which are used by a broad array of companies. The thrust of this collection of technologies is to apply DNA sequencing data to engineer the metabolism of microorganisms or green plants to create new products or processes.
The growth of this industry is a unique story, yet it rests on foundations common to other segments of American industry. Years of research continue to provide a knowledge base unequaled in the world, and the domestic capital market provides the ability to transform this knowledge into unique products and processes for markets around the world.
The future, however, holds many competitive challenges for this industry. In the quarter century since the development of recombinant DNA technologies, thousands of new biotechnology firms have emerged in the United States. Dozens of new products have reached the medical market, and several hundred are in human clinical trials. The market for such products is expected to grow from $7.6 billion in 1996 to more than $24 billion by 2006. Similarly, the market for agriculture biotech products is expected to increase from $300 million to $1.8 billion in the same period. All of this growth is driven by R&D spending of more than $10 billion per year....