Swiss biotech sector is set for growth

The biotechnology sector in Switzerland is growing more strongly than it has done for years. In 2016, the 281 companies employing more than 15,000 staff posted a turnover of CHF 5,730 million. This is a strong increase of nearly 12%. The prospects are also looking good. Switzerland is a world leader in patents, and a robust and well-filled product pipeline offers the best conditions for a successful future.

Biochemical tests of cell culture. Equipment for scientific lab.
Switzerland offers ideal conditions for building highly skilled and interdisciplinary knowledge networks.

The Swiss biotech sector can look back on a successful 2016. With a growth in sales of 11.7% compared with the previous year, the upward trend is again getting stronger. The number of employees has increased as well, from 14,890 in 2015 to 15,362 in 2016. The revenues achieved from the sale of products and services are now distributed among more companies than in the previous year. This shows that the biotech sector in Switzerland has become more strongly established.

The future is bright

Future prospects are particularly encouraging as the Swiss biotech sector is among the very best in the world in terms of market penetration and the technological relevance of its patents. At the same time the number of patents is on the rise, firstly because more intensive research is being carried out in established fields, and secondly because various technologies are being combined to form new fields of research. But patents are always just the first step on the path to successful, marketable innovations. It is therefore important to note that the product pipelines of Swiss biotech firms are also well filled, promising stable further development in the sector.

Switzerland offers ideal conditions

In the biotech sector, there is a clear trend towards ever-increasing complexity. This affects not only patents. The complexity becomes also evident in the growing amount of freely available scientific data. Properly analyzing this data, assessing its reliability, and thus staying abreast of the latest state of research is becoming more and more demanding.

This growing complexity creates new possibilities and ultimately has a positive effect on the innovative capacities of the whole sector. Thanks to an excellent research environment within a small region, Switzerland offers ideal conditions for building highly skilled and interdisciplinary knowledge networks. The Swiss biotech sector is therefore ideally placed to convert this complexity into economic growth. International networks are also of great importance here, not least because of programs such as Horizon 2020, which Switzerland is able to participate in as a fully affiliated country from 2017 onwards.

For more information on the biotech sector in Switzerland, download our factsheet.

Source: Press release (Swiss Biotech Org)


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