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Switzerland excels with biotech start-ups

According to an article in the journal “Nature”, Switzerland is the European leader with its biotech start-up ecosystem. Based on population size, Switzerland ranks in first place for both venture capital and patent and research output.

Switzerland is the European leader with its biotech start-up ecosystem.
Switzerland is the European leader with its biotech start-up ecosystem.

An article in the journal “Nature” examines the European biotech start-up ecosystem. It compares the ecosystems in the individual countries. For example, it measures the number of biotech start-ups that were able to raise venture capital between 2013 and 2017. In absolute numbers, the UK leads (129 start-ups) followed by France (51 start-ups) and Switzerland (37 start-ups). However, Switzerland ranks the highest based on population size, followed by Denmark and Ireland in second place.

High R&D spending pays off

In addition to venture capital raised, the article also looks at research productivity. In terms of the total number of research papers published in the biotech field, the UK is in first place. Per capita Switzerland is also the leader in this field across Europe, followed by Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. According to the article, this can be explained by the high level of R&D spending. At 3.4%, Switzerland is also the European country with the highest R&D spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).

Switzerland scores highly in regard to patenting activity

France has the highest patent output in absolute numbers, although on a per capita basis Switzerland ranks highest. It also performs well in the area of human capital and is in third place behind Denmark and the Netherlands based on the number of clinical trials per capita.

The study was carried out by Forbion Capital Partners in the Netherlands, the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management and KP2 LLC, USA. The study was restricted to those countries in Europe with a population size over one million in which at least two biotech startups raised venture capital between 2013 and 2017.

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