As many as one if five emerging biotechnology companies in Europe , according to a new study.

Alcimed, a research firm based in France, conducted the study on behalf of the European Biopharmaceutical Enteprises (EBE) group.

“The new study confirms that the healthcare biotechnology sector is already looking at a major funding shortfall, putting 20 percent of Europe’s small biopharmaceutical companies at risk of bankruptcy by the end of 2009,” EBE said.

“This could mean the loss of 20.000 high-skill, high-value jobs and a permanent damage to Europe’s research,” the group added. “The figures underline the fact that the majority of these small companies only have enough funding to cover 18 months of operation or less. For many, the clock on those 18 months has been ticking ominously for some time. The crisis could deepen further in 2010 if the current situation persists. This unprecedented state of affairs means that over 50 percent of small biopharmaceutical companies already feel under threat.”