Biogen specializes in the research, development, and delivery of therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative, hematologic, and autoimmune diseases to patients worldwide. It is today the third largest biotech company in the world, employing 7,500 people in 30 countries. The organization was originally founded in Geneva in 1978 by a group of prominent biologists, before moving its global headquarters to the US, still keeping a presence in Switzerland. Biogen decided to strengthen its ties with the country and will soon open a new production site in Luterbach, Solothurn. According to the canton’s press release, 1 billion Swiss francs will be invested in the facilities and by 2019, about 400 jobs should have been created. This is the most important settlement in the canton’s history.
Natascha Schill, Managing Director of Biogen Switzerland shared the following during the official press conference about the settlement: “Thanks to the outstanding support of the canton Solothurn, of the municipality Luterbach and the Swiss government, we have the possibility to build one of the most advanced biotech production plants in the world. The canton of Solothurn offers business-friendly conditions, reliable infrastructure as well as access to skilled workforce. Moreover, our international head office is in Switzerland. All these factors contribute to the fact that we want to extend our global production net in Luterbach.” First contact was made via Switzerland's trade and investment promotion agency Switzerland Global Enterprise.
Biotechnology represents an important cluster in Switzerland. In 2014, there were more than 195 biotech development companies and 57 biotech supplier companies centered in 4 main industry clusters in Basel, Zurich, the Lake Geneva region and Ticino. Some well-known global players headquartered in Switzerland include Actelion, Amgen, Crucell, and Merck Serono.
For more information about life sciences in Switzerland, please refer to the Handbook for investors (chapter 2: Economic Structure).