Basel pharma companies invest most in R&D

Last year, the 24 pharmaceutical corporations that are members of the Interpharma association invested a total of 7 billion Swiss francs in research and development in Switzerland. Roche and Novartis are leading the way.

Roche scientist
(Image credit: F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd)

The 24 Interpharma companies spent a total of 96 billion francs on research and development worldwide in 2017. Of this, 7 billion francs was invested in Switzerland. When compared with the sales they generated in Switzerland, the companies’ Swiss research investment was more than twice as high. According to the association, this is a testament to the great significance of Switzerland as a research location and the innovation taking place at these companies.

Investment in research and development has been especially high among companies that have their headquarters in Switzerland, such as Roche and Novartis. However, the  information reveals that corporations with head offices elsewhere also carried out major investment, including Johnson & Johnson, for example. In addition to research expenditure, the companies spent around 0.5 billion francs on equipment like technical devices, machines, fixtures and fittings as well as operating equipment.

In its press release on the study, Interpharma highlights the key role played by the pharma industry in the Swiss export sector. The association also notes that more than 86 patents were registered per million employees in pharmaceutical research in Switzerland between 2012 and 2016. This is more than double the number of Denmark and five times as many as in Germany.

Company sales were also reported in the study: Pfizer is top of the list (US$47.4 billion), but closely followed by Novartis (US$46.6 billion), while Roche (US$39.9 billion) is fifth, after Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi.

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