Press release BoxID: 790208 (Swiss Biotech Association)
  • Swiss Biotech Association
  • Wengistr. 7
  • 8004 Zürich
  • Contact person
  • Domenico Alexakis
  • +41 (44) 45556-78

Growth of Swiss biotech sector exceeds 5% in 2015 - financing at record level

Promising future for Switzerland's growing biotech sector

(PresseBox) (Basel, ) The Swiss biotech industry can look back upon a successful 2015: net sales of 279 companies increased by 5.1% to 5,133 million CHF. Capital investment increased by one fourth to a record high of 907 million CHF. As in previous years, a number of new companies were founded and approx. 400 new jobs created. The future also looks promising: high-calibre innovation networks are laying the foundation for a large number of patents that will pay dividends in the next years to come.


The Swiss Biotech Report presented to the public today shows the favourable economic development of the pharmaceutical biotech sector ('red biotechnology' or 'biotech healthcare') last year.

· Net sales of all biotech companies domiciled in Switzerland totalled 5,133 million CHF in 2015, increasing by 248 million CHF compared to the previous year.
· Capital investment in biotech companies increased from 719 to 907 million CHF, making for a new record and a remarkable result given the low IPO activity. Of this total, 474 million CHF is attributable to listed companies and 433 million CHF to privately held companies of which the great majority are still in the start-up phase.
· A total of 279 companies were operating in the Swiss biotech sector in 2015, 15 more than in 2014.
· Compared to the previous year, a total of about 400 new jobs were created. As a result, the number of people employed directly in the Swiss biotech sector amounts to over 15,000, in addition to the 25,000 to 30,000 working for companies acting as suppliers or service providers for the sector.

The Swiss Biotech Report highlights the most important innovation drivers and summarises topics and facts concerning the development of the Swiss biotech industry. The focus is on industry performance data in the pharmaceutical sector compared to the previous year. Innovations in biotechnology provide lasting support for a wide range of sectors in the Swiss economy.

Inter-disciplinary collaboration - driver of Innovation
In the biotech sector most innovative companies and research institutes engage in an interdisciplinary strategy. The result is the emergence of promising new disciplines like bioinformatics or nanobiotechnology. This success is predicated on being open to other industries and technologies and the willingness to collaborate.
Since it is not possible for an individual company to possess all the know-how that is available at the international level, cooperative ventures help to maintain and boost global competitiveness.
Horizontal collaboration is key as are vertical networks encompassing the entire value chain in which academics engaging in fundamental research, start-ups, SMEs and multinationals each contribute their specific technology expertise.

High-calibre innovation networks in Switzerland
The Swiss Biotech Report shows that Switzerland possesses high-calibre networks enabling cooperative ventures and thus innovation to thrive at a high level. Switzerland boasts an excellent research environment and a large number of exceptionally innovative companies, ranging from SMEs only known to experts to global leaders. Since they work and collaborate in close proximity to one another in a wide variety of different industry segments, they stimulate and inspire one another and foster the diffusion of innovation to other areas.

Switzerland - in an excellent starting Position
Switzerland's success in attracting several international biotech companies shows that it possesses an excellent standing in competing at the international level. A prominent example of this is Biogen, one of the world's leading biotech firms. By building a next-generation manufacturing facility in Solothurn's Luterbach, Biogen will be investing one billion CHF and creating approx. 400 jobs by 2019. Factors driving Biogen's decision to locate in Switzerland are Switzerland's business-friendly conditions, reliable infrastructure and ready availability of well-trained specialists.

Collaboration for expanding and strengthening the biotech innovation Network
The Health Tech Cluster Switzerland (HTCS) and the Swiss Biotech Association (SBA) are aiming for a strategic alliance. The goal is to network stakeholders in both organisations - in particular the member companies - so they can derive additional benefit from the resulting synergy. At the same time the two organisations will secure mutual access to experience, expertise and existing networks and be able to collaborate in international sponsored projects.

Steering Committee of the Swiss Biotech Report 2016
Domenico Alexakis, Swiss Biotech Association; Seraina Benz, SIX Swiss Exchange Ltd; Florian Fisch, Swiss National Science Foundation; Oreste Ghisalba, Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI); Daniel Gygax, biotechnet Switzerland; Jan Lucht, scienceindustries; Liv Minder, Switzerland Global Enterprise; Heinz Müller, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property; Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF); Andrea von Bartenwerffer, SIX Swiss Exchange Ltd; Jürg Zürcher, Ernst & Young Ltd. (EY).