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New record set for biotech investments

The Swiss biotech sector benefitted from investments totaling 3.33 billion Swiss francs overall in 2021. A record level of 2.56 billion Swiss francs went towards research and development activities in this area. The number of IPOs was also on the rise, as was the case for the number of employees too. These are the findings from the most recent Swiss Biotech Report.

2021 a total of 3.33 billion Swiss francs was invested in Swiss biotech firms.
2021 a total of 3.33 billion Swiss francs was invested in Swiss biotech firms. Generic image: fernando zhiminaicela/Pixabay

The Swiss Biotech Association, the industry association for the biotech sector in Switzerland, provides details of an “exceptional” year in 2021 for the industry as part of its Swiss Biotech Report 2022. The report was compiled together with the business consulting firm EY and seven other partner organizations. It highlights that a total of 3.33 billion Swiss francs was invested in Swiss biotech firms, with international investors making a major contribution to this. Moreover, investments in research and development (R&D) rose to a record high of 2.56 billion Swiss francs.

Record levels of financing in the past two pandemic-hit years confirm that “investors continue to recognize the attractiveness of investment opportunities on offer” in the Swiss biotech industry”, comments Michael Altorfer, CEO of the Swiss Biotech Association, before concluding that sustaining innovation and growth must continue to be a “key priority” within the sector moving forwards.

The report also claims that the “appetite for IPOs” – from the NASDAQ to the new Sparks market of Swiss stock exchange – has remained at a high level. Recently launched by SIX Swiss Exchange, the Sparks capital market segment for SMEs is set to lend further impetus to the flourishing start-up scene, according to the Swiss Biotech Association.

The number of employees working at Swiss R&D biotech firms rose by 9.5 percent. “I am pleased to see that in response Switzerland is continuing to prioritize attracting top talent”, Michael Altorfer explains further. New bilateral agreements, for example with Indonesia, have helped to support the expansion of the global network.   

Public-private partnerships are becoming increasingly important as drivers of innovation. As examples of this, the Swiss Biotech Association cites the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB), the Balgrist Campus and the Wyss research centers in Zurich and Geneva, as well as the IDEAL partner program run by Debiopharm.

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