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New investment record for the biotech industry

The Swiss biotech industry achieved great things again in 2020. For the tenth year in succession, it secured top spot in the Global Innovation Index. Moreover, the latest Swiss Biotech Report shows that capital investment in Swiss biotech firms increased almost threefold versus 2019.

The Bio-Technopark Schlieren-Zurich is home to innovative companies from the biotech sector.
The Bio-Technopark Schlieren-Zurich is home to innovative companies from the biotech sector. Image Credit : Limmatstadt AG

A review of the Swiss biotech sector for 2020 shows that the industry could hardly be in better shape. As the Swiss Biotech Report 2021 entitled “Agility, leadership and innovation in the time of COVID-19” reveals, the industry achieved top scores for nearly every category. Swiss biotech firms made valuable contributions to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, an accompanying press release issued by the Swiss Biotech Association states. In this context, the report underlines Switzerland's role in basic research, vaccine production and component delivery, as well as in therapeutics.

Biotech creates jobs

Research carried out by the country’s biotech firms led to an 8 percent increase in jobs. At present, these companies employ 16,300 people. Moreover, they were involved in a series of mergers and acquisitions.

The Swiss biotech industry generated sales of 4.5 billion Swiss francs in 2020, slightly down on the 4.8 billion Swiss francs recorded in the prior year. This sales decline can above all be attributed to advantageous non-recurring events in 2019. Nevertheless, biotech firms continued to increase their revenues from marketed products and services.

Top spot for innovation

In the Global Innovation Index, Switzerland claimed top spot in 2020 for the tenth year in a row. Capital investment in Swiss biotech companies hit a record level: In comparison with the previous year, this nearly tripled to stand at 3.4 billion Swiss francs. Investment in research and development alone rose by 10 percent to 2.2 billion Swiss francs.

“While the pandemic highlighted the importance of the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors, a note of caution may be warranted as many companies suffered significant delays in their R&D pipeline”, warns Michael Altorfer, CEO Swiss Biotech Association, in the press release. He adds: “Nonetheless, we are confident that the sector will continue its impressive expansion”.

The Swiss Biotech Report is jointly produced by ten Swiss companies and organizations.

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