The Swiss Biotech Day took place in Basel on September 7. The event is regarded as the most important biotech conference in Switzerland. Numerous reports, presentations and panel discussions provided an overview of the current status of the biotech sector in Switzerland.
Switzerland offers good breeding ground for biotech companies
According to a press release covering the Swiss Biotech Day, Switzerland is among the most attractive locations for biotech companies. The press release also refers to a study presented during the event by the consultancy firm KPMG. “Switzerland is an attractive location in important comparative categories such as the size of the cluster, attractiveness for qualified employees and competitive taxes”, explains André Güdel, expert in site evaluation at KPMG Switzerland. This excellent position can be attributed to a “very high influx of venture capital” in the country, in addition to Switzerland’s “continuous investments in research and the strong ability to innovate”, the press release states.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, public interest in the industry increased yet further, a development that was also reflected in investment activities: “By July 2021, investors invested around 2 billion Swiss francs in Swiss biotech companies. 80 percent thereof was raised by IPOs and companies listed on the stock exchange”, comments Jürg Zürcher, expert and EY Senior Advisor in the field of biotechnology.
Success stories awarded
At the conference, a total of five companies – namely Bachem, Basilea, Esbatech, Lonza and Novimmune – were awarded prizes for their respective successes. Neurimmune has also enjoyed a successful 2021 to date: the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of the Schlieren-based firm’s drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Cooperation is the key to success
The huge importance of international cooperation within the biotech sector was also highlighted at the Swiss Biotech Day. Despite its modest size, Switzerland is very well connected internationally. In addition, owing to its small local market, Switzerland has an opportunity to further expand its position in the production of pharmaceuticals on a global scale. Swiss companies such as Lonza, Bachem, Siegfried, Dottikon and Celonic are already carrying out manufacturing activities on behalf of global corporations. Overall, the biotech industry (including the pharmaceutical industry) accounts for more than 40 percent of Swiss exports.
Conference participants came to the conclusion that Switzerland is well equipped for the future, citing in this context not only the expansion of industrial parks and production facilities, but also a broad-based commitment to strong patent protection, a well-filled product pipeline and the lively start-up scene.