Coronavirus Responses & Impacts Bioeconomy Survey Results – March 2020

March 19, 2020 |

“The virus will not respond to negotiation, policy threats, financial machinations, or even military force, and it does not respect borders.” – A Digest reader

Executive Summary

The bioeconomy’s pioneers are an optimistic bunch, and generally are far more optimistic than pessimistic about the next 12 months,. That’s changed, now. 70 percent are pessimists about 2020-21, relative to how we felt just a year ago.

  What stands out is social distancing, reduced travel, and telecommuting. Which is to say, a change in workstyle but not as much in work structure. We do see a moderate amount of emphasis on reduction in operations and office closings.

  More than 40 percent expect severe impact now or later with  production volumes, raw materials prices, financing, daily routines, R&D operations , sales and marketing, and more than 50 percent expect severe impacts with partner/customer external communications and meetings. It’s worth noting that while financing fits mostly in the “little impact” department, experiences will vary greatly depending on company stage, size, geography.

  More than 60 percent of readers expect impacts into at least Q3 in production volumes, product sets, financing, prices, staffing, R&D, partnership development and (ironically) federal sector support. There’s more optimism on logistics, and outsourcing.. Long-range impacts include financing plans, long-range R&D and partner development. So expect impact on the technology pipeline and the IPO window.

  Overall, companies report very low levels of panic “around here” which is to say in their local circle of colleagues, suppliers and customers. The panic, they feel, is “out there”. 39 percent of the local community is in panic mode, but an average of only 8 percent at “our house”

  Readers are clear in support of social distancing, working from home, more clarity from officials, better enforcement and even believing that draconian measures such as a societal lockdown will have major impact.

  The response is more mixed on increasing R&D, sending out checks to families, emergency financial assistance — in some cases, not much support at all and in others, only useful if “now”. In general, we have far more consensus about protecting health than about restoring/protecting the economy.

Readers added:

  • “The leadership exhibited at the highest levels now (i.e. political) is not helping. This is not a political issue. Coherent, and most importantly, science-based policy, is a must-have. The virus will not respond to negotiation, policy threats, financial machinations, or even military force, and it does not respect borders. That makes the repertoire of current world leadership largely useless”
  • “Gross negligence and incompetence at the federal level rising to the point of criminal. Decisive and thoughtful leadership at the state and local level is helping to offset failures at the federal level.”
  • “I have noticed a distinct difference by the age of my workers. Younger ones are definitely struggling more. They are very scared and feeling isolated since many of them don’t live with people they are close to. Also, we have seen sales reps/etc laid off at our vendors. Some of them even emailing us from personal gmail accounts to let us know.”
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