Latest research shows 20 percent of European biotechnology firms are now headquartered in Switzerland. Growth patterns are continuing and self-commercializing opportunities are also drawing U.S. companies. This is a result of a campaign of investment promotion run by the Swiss federal government, cantons and regions.
One of the drivers for this is a 25 percent higher rate of availability in European markets for innovative drugs from Swiss-based biotech companies. This is based on research conducted by IQVIA and recently published in the 2023 Swiss Biotech Report.
Out of a total of 265 companies settling in Switzerland, 63 were biotechs, making this area the second most important sector after ICT. The influx was also strong from the U.S., with 23 setting up in either Basel, Geneva, Zurich or Lucerne. In the past year, Swiss biotechs have raised approximately €3 billion (CHF 3.4B) in funding.
Examples include: VectivBio Holding (CHF 177 million), ADC Therapeutics (CHF 166 million), MoonLake Immunotherapeutics (CHF 140 million), Basilea (CHF 75 million) and BioCartis (CHF 65 million).
Biotechnology is a large field of science and innovation, collectively capturing firms seeking to use biology in order to develop new products, methods and organisms intended to improve human health and society.
Several of these new startups were biotech companies seeking the self-commercialization of their innovative therapies without large pharma support. Another feature leading to firms setting up base is due to the high approval rates by the medicines regulatory – Swissmedic.
“Swissmedic strengthens the Swiss research hub by supporting innovation and accelerating the approval process for new drugs long before they are ready to be commercialized,” says Jörg Schläpfer, Head of Management Services and International Affairs at Swissmedic.
Schläpfer adds: “Through collaborations with international partners, we facilitate controlled and rapid global access to promising products for drug developers, ensuring that patients can benefit as quickly as possible from innovative therapies which are safe and of high quality.”
One example is Blueprint Medicines which relocated its international headquarters to Zug to support the commercialization outside the U.S. of its first-to-market therapy AYVAKYT®. This medicine is used to treat a rare haematological disorder called advanced systemic mastocytis (a rare condition caused by an excess number of mast cells gathering in the body’s tissues).
The types of factors that the report describes biotech companies factoring in include: The engagement model, the degree of centralization, the degree of specialization of roles and the geographic footprint and structure