PaxVax Berna
PaxVax Berna

The top two markets for life sciences are clearly in the US and Switzerland.

Nima Farzan

CEO and President, PaxVax

Educated workforce and a strong business environment

PaxVax, founded in 2007, is an American specialty vaccine company with its headquarters in Redwood City, California. In 2014 the life sciences firm acquired PaxVax Berna in Thörishaus in the Canton of Bern. As a result of this purchase the company more than doubled its size and commercialized its first product (the oral typhoid vaccine Vivotif®). The CEO and President of PaxVax, Nima Farzan, was delighted about how great Switzerland presents itself for growing a company. The local workforce is extraordinary, he adds: «They have excellent technical skills. Some of the Swiss experts were even sent to San Diego to share their knowledge and experience with their American colleagues.» Moreover, the favorable regulatory environment, labor and tax laws as well as the strong support from the Swiss authorities has contributed to a positive business environment for PaxVax. A further advantage of Switzerland as a business location is the proximity to numerous international organizations. For instance, PaxVax Berna is located close to the World Health Organization (WHO) which provides ease of access to an important stakeholder. According to Farzan, who was the former Vice President of Marketing for Novartis Vaccines USA, Switzerland is one of the two leading markets for life sciences after the US.

No risks for life sciences companies in Switzerland

In January 2014 PaxVax contacted the Swiss Business Hub (SBH) USA, the representative of the Swiss trade and investment promotion agency Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE). They met through the partnering track at the BioShowcase conference in January 2014. Nima Farzan was deeply impressed by the fast process handling from the SBH USA to the economic promotion of the Canton of Berne, the local authority, who reacted quickly to organize initial meetings. They assisted the US company in facilitating financial support as well as in providing work and residence permits.

Looking back, Farzan is pleased to have chosen Switzerland as a location for PaxVax’s manufacturing facility: «There is no risk involved to come here as a life sciences company». When it comes to perspectives, the CEO thinks very positively about their growth in Thörishaus, Bern: «The vision is to have production focused in Switzerland, because the conditions here are ideal. Meanwhile, the vision for our R&D organization is to focus it mainly in California, allowing us to have the best of both worlds.»

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The top two markets for life sciences are clearly in the US and Switzerland.

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