Welcome to BaselArea.swiss

Fostering innovation & accelerating business in Switzerland’s most dynamic economic region >>>>

No. 1 in Swissness

Swissness means business-friendly, reliable and productive. As an economic powerhouse and with decidedly pro-business core values, ... >>>> Swissness means business-friendly, reliable and productive. As an economic powerhouse and with decidedly pro-business core values, the Basel region is a shining example for these Swiss virtues.

No. 1 in Life Sciences and Healthcare

The entire life sciences value chain in one place and easily accessible? That’s what makes the Basel region unique and a preferred ... >>>> The entire life sciences value chain in one place and easily accessible? That’s what makes the Basel region unique and a preferred location for research, development, production and headquarters functions - for 600 companies and counting.

No. 1 in Innovation Industries

Switzerland is considered the most innovative country in the world, according to various studies. Access to knowledge, highly quali... >>>> Switzerland is considered the most innovative country in the world, according to various studies. Access to knowledge, highly qualified and international talent and a strong industrial backbone have turned the Basel region into the leading innovation hub of Switzerland.

No. 1 in Access from and to Europe

Via container ship or by plane: Outstanding connectivity and transportation, bordering Germany and France, and a central location i... >>>> Via container ship or by plane: Outstanding connectivity and transportation, bordering Germany and France, and a central location in the middle of Europe have established the Basel region as a preferred logistics hub and metropolitan platform for international trade.

No. 1 in Culture and Leisure

World-class art treasures, culture and sports events, an international, urban ambience nestled in a healthy natural landscape for r... >>>> World-class art treasures, culture and sports events, an international, urban ambience nestled in a healthy natural landscape for recreation, all of this combined establishes the Basel region as one of the most livable and lively spots to dwell and work in the world.

BaselArea.swiss is a joint initiative for innovation and economic promotion by the cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft and Jura in Northwestern Switzerland. BaselArea.swiss supports entrepreneurs and companies from abroad with the successful implementation of innovation and business ventures in the Basel region.

Through an extensive network of 15'000 decision-makers, innovators, experts, influencers and multipliers, BaselArea.swiss provides its clients direct access to relevant expertise and specialized know-how.

BaselArea.swiss offers its clients customized services in four main areas:

  • Invest in the Basel Region helps clients with personalized support in deciding where to locate their business activities in the Basel region. Companies can expect competent advice during the entire site selection and settlement process.
  • Connecting Innovators helps connecting companies and researchers in technology, R&D and innovation matters, and within the tech industry sectors Life Sciences, Medical Technologies, ICT, Micro, Nano & Materials, and Production Technologies.
  • Supporting Entrepreneurs offers entrepreneurs, who plan to start a company in the Basel region, overall help and support during the operational implementation of their business plans. Furthermore, start-ups and SME in expansion mode from the technology sectors mentioned above can benefit from strategic networking services to connect with industry experts and investors.
  • Accessing China provides companies in Northwestern Switzerland, which are looking to expand to China with a competent partnering network for a smooth market entry and implementation of their expansion project in China.

BaselArea.swiss also manages a comprehensive information platform, which showcases the competencies and specializations in the Basel business region, and further advances the integration of the region’s innovative players:

  • “Innovation Reports“: Covering the latest stories and reports on innovation in the Basel region and featuring a monthly newsletter with interviews, background stories and news about company settlements in the Basel region.
  •  “Innovation Events“:BaselArea.swiss organizes and co-hosts more than 50 events annually dedicated to knowledge transfer and entrepreneurial culture. “Innovation Events” is where innovators and entrepreneurs share their thoughts and experiences about the latest in innovation.


When it comes to competitiveness and the ability to innovate, Switzerland has been one of the world’s top business locations for years. Several factors are responsible for Switzerland’s leading position: In addition to its excellency in education and a state-of-the-art infrastructure, one prominent reason for equating Swissness with business-friendliness, reliability, and productivity certainly is the efficiency of Swiss government authorities. For decades, companies and their investments in Switzerland have been able to benefit from a strong legal system, planning reliability and financial stability. Such an environment also provides the single most important precondition for sustainable expansion into new markets. Not coincidentally, Switzerland can claim the highest density of multinational enterprises.

The Basel region has made major contributions to this Swiss success story. Not only lay the beginnings and origins of numerous leading global players here, their successes also fuels the economic growth of our dynamic region. For instance, GDP numbers for the Basel region are significantly above the national average: The greater agglomeration of Basel achieves the highest gross domestic product per capita. At the same time, the Basel region is boosting Switzerland’s innovative capabilities, largely due to its leadership in life sciences and other high-tech sectors that are strongly represented in the area. For example, roughly a fifth of Switzerland’s value of exported goods is generated in the Basel region – remarkably considering the Basel region represents less than 10% of the Swiss population.

Four eminent features are at the core of the excellent reputation that Switzerland, and the Basel region in particular, enjoy when it comes to global competition of business, industry and knowledge locations:

  • Intelligent tax policies: Federalism as Switzerland’s guiding principle encourages active fiscal competition among cantons - which keeps tax rates within reasonable brackets. Apart from a flat tax rate on a federal level, the cantons are solely responsible for setting the tax rates - and for providing a best possible business environment for companies. As a result, the main beneficiaries of the Basel region are companies active in innovative industries with a high value add, as well as companies investing substantially in research, development and production.
  • Liberal labor market: Given the high density of internationally active high-tech companies in the Basel region, local authorities are supportive in order to answer the demand for highly qualified experts and executives from abroad. Companies also benefit from one of Europe’s most liberal labor market, while simultaneously being able to offer employees great benefits. The Basel region’s labor regulations and market allow companies to react quickly if changes in the business environment require action.
  • Sustainable infrastructure: In Switzerland, 5 minutes of train delay is considered unpleasant and exceptional – which routinely puts a smile on the faces of visitors from other countries. It is a well-known fact that the Swiss public infrastructure is rightly considered one of the most modern and reliable of the world – much to the advantage of companies in the Basel region: Exceptional connectivity by car, train or plane from and to all of Europe – and by waterway on the Rhine to all over the world.
  • Dual education system: Only a third of young Swiss finish high school and continue to earn degrees at one of Switzerland’s top universities. For many other countries this might represent a disastrous educational failure. In Switzerland, it’s actually part of the country’s success of professional formation. The aim of Switzerland’s “dual” education system is that a majority of young people will complete a Swiss-Federation-certified apprenticeship in order to join the workforce early on. A specialization, mostly „on the job“, is possible and often pursued at one of the country’s technical colleges or universities of applied sciences. This provides the Swiss labor market with a steady supply of entry-level employees with several years of on-the-job training and who will flexibly work in the most promising sectors, and where the actual demand is from employers and the industry. In addition and especially in the Basel region, there are many and well-established international schools that address the needs of expats and their kids for easy integration.

Being the only political system based on direct democracy, Switzerland has developed a uniquely cohesive political and social culture over the centuries. It is characterized by federalism, autonomy, and concordance, and has been the foundations of a stable political and social environment and is an embodiment of Swiss values. With its open-mindedness, the pragmatic can-do attitude of its authorities and people, the Basel region is a superb example of a business location that offers companies a great environment in which they’re all but certain to thrive.

The Basel region is one of the most sought-after life sciences locations in the world and clearly Europe’s No. 1. With Roche and Novartis, two out of three global market leaders, hail from the Basel region from where they run their global operations.

Just like them, several other international players have established central business divisions here in Basel, among them Elanco (Eli Lilly Company), Abott and Bayer. A good deal of newcomers such as Actelion, Basilea, Evolva and highly specialized companies like Bachem and Polyphor complete Basel’s life sciences ecosystem. Not surprisingly, the Basel region has also morphed into a hotspot for promising start-ups.

The Basel region is home to a total of 600 life sciences companies that are making a substantial contribution to an already dynamic business environment. Their sustainable success is mainly based on the following three factors:

  • The life sciences industry is the growth engine of the Basel region – home-grown and here to stay: With a total of 27’000 employees in the life sciences sector, the Basel region boasts a production of goods and services worth USD 301 million per hour. This makes the Basel region by far the world’s life sciences destination with the highest productivity. When it comes to gross value, the Basel region is a world champion too: Nowhere in the world are higher production volumes to be found than in the Basel region, with its USD 13 billion p.a. At the same time, Basel’s annually received USD 9 billion investments in research and development makes the region a leader in this discipline too. Local life sciences are responsible for above-average economic growth – a fact reflected in the spotless reputation that the industry enjoys in the Basel region.
  • In the Basel region you’ll find talent and specialists with all kinds of competencies – quite often even in walking distance: From research and start-ups to manufacturing, marketing and distribution you’ll find the complete life sciences value chain of the Basel region practically on-site, and hence a deep talent pool of experienced specialists and experts at every stage and for every function of your company. Add top-of-the-line research institutes like Biozentrum at the University of Basel, the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering of the ETH Zürich and the Friedrich Miescher Institute, and you’ll begin to grasp the extent of the Basel region’s unique life sciences mix. Its depth and density of resources, expertise and talent – oftentimes literally in walking distance – is unmatched in a global comparison and provides a uniquely fertile ground for innovations of the future.
  • The Basel region is a beacon of innovation in the life sciences – with a long tradition of more than 250 years: The Basel region can rightly claim to be the life sciences location with the longest history. From the beginnings with its industrial silk ribbon dye mills in the mid-century 1800s up to the biotech revolution, the Basel life sciences ecosystem has repeatedly evolved and reinvented itself in the course of the industry’s larger developments. This success story continues to be written. Unlike other historically grown life sciences centers, the Basel region has enjoyed solid and sustainable growth in recent years. And given a planned capital expenditure of 7 billion Swiss Francs for public and private infrastructure projects in the next couple of years, the region’s next growth spurt is just around the corner.

Tradition, a strong industrial backbone, and profound expertise in research and development, as well as in commercialization, have made the Basel region one of the most complete and full-fledged life sciences destinations in the world. You really would be hard pressed to find a region more suitable for efficient, sustainable and successful pre-commercial and commercial project development in the life sciences.

High-tech is the driving economic force in the Basel region and a guarantor of higher-than-average growth. And it will stay this way.  Because a strong industrial backbone, an international business environment that attracts talent and specialists from all over the world, combined with the world-class Swiss educational system have rendered the Basel region an ideal biotope for innovation. Here, companies, in particular from medical technology, ICT, precision mechanics, as well as from chemical industries, will benefit from the following location features:                         

  • The Basel region stands on strong industrial ground in the high-tech sector: 92% of the industrial value added in the canton of Basel-Stadt is created by high-tech companies. Similarly, in the more rural cantons of Basel-Land and Jura, it is well above 70% and hence above the national average of around 60%. And it’s this latter percentage that has lifted Switzerland into the ranks of the most innovative nations in the world.
  • The Basel region is a front-runner in research and development: In Switzerland, the private sector is responsible for 69% of investments in research and development - a rather high ratio in global comparison – and 40% of which are generated in the Basel region, even though it holds only 10% of Switzerland’s population. Five of the 10 Swiss companies with the most patents registered are headquartered in the Basel region: Roche, Novartis, Clariant, Syngenta and Endress+Hauser. That’s why there simply is no other Swiss business location that employs a larger workforce in research and development.
  • The Basel region is globally connected and attracts talents from all over the world: Approximately one out of five in the Basel region’s population of 700’000 hails from abroad; the expat community currently amounts to 36’000. Situated close to the borders of Germany and France, the Basel region also sees a daily influx of 70'000 cross-border commuters from these neighboring countries. It’s hard to think of another business location, where such intense international business dynamics are unfolding in so little space, to form a center of attraction for professionals and specialists from all over the world.
  • World-class science and academic education: In addition to being a strong industrial research and development location, the Basel region is also perfectly positioned within the European world of academia. With its 2'000 professors and 12’000 students, the University of Basel is one of the oldest in Europe and ranks among the top 100 worldwide. Less than a two-hour train ride away are the Federal Institutes of Technology ETH Zurich (which has a life sciences department in Basel) and the EPFL Lausanne, both among the world’s absolute top-notch universities. In total, the Basel region (including its bordering countries) is home to no less than 167 research institutions in a perimeter of a few 100 kilometers. In addition, Switzerland’s dual education system and the University of Applied Sciences in Northwestern Switzerland provide a steady supply of highly trained professionals and skilled specialists.

Studies and surveys rank Switzerland year after year as one of the world’s leading location for innovation. Thanks to its strong industry backbone, a thoroughly international business environment that attracts talent from all over the world, and combined with the Swiss academic and dual education system, Basel has established itself as the innovation hub of Switzerland. The density of its offerings is truly unique: Maximum scientific performance, industry expertise and know-how, and a qualified labor force can be found within walking distance in the Basel region.

As early as during the Roman Empire, the Basel Rhine Port was known as the most southern navigable port in the waterways leading to the North Sea. After the opening of the first – and for many years the only - bridge over the river Rhine between Lake Constance and the North Sea in Basel in the year 1226, the city evolved into an important trade hub. Bordering France and Germany, and favorably situated in the center of Europe, the Basel region has maintained its leading role as the most important transportation and logistics hub of Switzerland – with many benefits for local industries and business in general.
In addition, the Basel region is particularly suitable for companies intending to establish an international headquarters in Europe, and for businesses actively pursuing new opportunities in global trade. The Basel region offers the following unique benefits:

  • The Basel region is an important European traffic hub: A mere 15 minutes by taxi or bus away from downtown Basel, the EuroAirport connects the region directly to more than 90 destinations in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. From the city’s three Rhine ports, containers can reach Rotterdam within three days and be shipped from there all over the world. A train leaves nearly every hour to all major Swiss cities like Zurich (including the Zurich International Airport), Bern, Lausanne and Geneva, as well as economic centers on the river Rhine (i.e. Freiburg, Karlsruhe and Strasbourg). And Europe’s leading metropolitan and capital cities such as Frankfurt, Paris and Milano can be reached easily and conveniently in a few hours on a high-speed train.
  • The Basel region is Switzerland’s leading logistics hub: Basel’s three Rhine ports handle 12% of Switzerland’s foreign trade along with 842'000 tons of food and produce per annum. The entire Basel region processes a third of Switzerland’s foreign trade. Basel’s EuroAirport is Switzerland’s leading airport for freight. This fits the picture of Basel as a logistics hub, with a workforce of more than 23'000 employed in the logistics sector. 990 logistics companies – among them market leaders such as DHL, Panalpina, Goldrand or Kerry Logistics – call the Basel region home. Here, they provide sophisticated solutions for complex challenges, e.g. in supply chain management, that are routinely in demand by companies in the life sciences and the chemicals industry.
  • With its central location in Europe, the Basel region is an ideal location for companies active in international trade: Companies as diverse as Davidoff (specialty tobacco), Dufry (retail), Transgourmet (catering) or BIS (Bank for International Settlements, international finance) underline that goods of all kinds are being traded and provided from Basel. Accordingly, Swiss retail giant Coop (the country’s second largest supermarket chain), and Manor (largest Swiss department store) have chosen to locate their headquarters here. The Basel region is also an important location for an array of international trade fairs and exhibitions. A large portion of the international watch and jewelry industry’s revenue is realized annually at BaselWorld. And ArtBasel simply is the world’s most important art fair. A growing number of international consumer brands have discovered the advantages of Basel as a trade hub and opened European headquarters in the Basel region. Among them are for instance the well-known US lifestyle brand Fossil, bicycle manufacturer Cannondale, or fashion and design label Tally Weijl.

A growing number of global companies is discovering the appeal of the Basel region for opening a global or European headquarters, particularly given the outstanding connectivity and transportation system, and the local competencies in logistics and international trade. Well-established Swiss companies and start-ups alike are taking advantage of this central location within Europe. Last but not least, the vicinity to Germany and France, a thriving exchange with the rest of the world, and the cosmopolitanism of the local population make for a dynamic, continuous and sustainable growth of the entire business region.

Breakfast in Germany, lunch in France and dinner in Switzerland: where three borders meet and brimming with the cosmopolitan flair of global businesses, the Basel region sports an un-paralleled quality of life, at a lower cost than in other metropolitan areas of Switzerland. Award-winning architecture, the historic downtown, and a rich and elaborate cultural life – from hipster to classy – are the pillars of an outstanding urban lifestyle in the Basel region. At the same time, a well-developed public transportation system provides quick and direct access to suburban and rural residential areas along with natural parks and sites for local recreation.

Just ask newcomers and recent arrivals: Not only does the Basel region sport Switzerland’s largest expat community with a comprehensive offer of international schools for their kids. Basel can also claim the largest share of expats that have settled and made their home in the region for longer than 5 years. There’s more than one reason for this:

  • In Basel’s urban lifestyle and rich cultural life there’s something for everyone: The roots of Basel go all the way back to the times of the Romans and the Celts. The region reached its prime for the first time towards the end of the Middle Ages and at the beginning of Modern Age. Of course, Basel didn’t stop there: Today, a thriving creative sector, a variety of restaurants for the local foodie scene, paired with a rich calendar of cultural events all but guarantee a vibrant metropolitan lifestyle. On a stroll through the picturesque historical downtown, during the local carnival season, at a concert in the neo-baroque symphony hall, or simply while enjoying an outdoor movie on the Münsterplatz town square in summer: there is always something going on in Basel.
  • In Basel, art lovers have come to the right place: The Kunstmuseum Basel, founded in 1671, is considered the oldest public community art collection and according to a rating of the Times of London one of the top 5 art museums in the world. By no means a less appealing point of attraction is the Fondation Beyeler museum, which was designed by the Italian star architect Renzo Piano. Another Basel art highlight is the world’s largest art fair, the Art Basel. Every year, artists, collectors, galleries and auctioneers, as well as celebrities and VIPs have their calendars marked for Art Basel. Some of them might even catch one of the many internationally acclaimed and award-winning performances of the Theater Basel (with opera, drama, and ballet).
  • Sports are always happening in the Basel region – and not only at the stadium or on the couch: The best of the best in European football (viz. soccer) competitions are hosted by local favorites FC Basel in their St. Jakob Park home stadium. And the aces of the ATP Tour are serving it up at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament – including the region’s very own native and superstar Roger Federer. Even outside the arena, the folks of Basel are quite keen on sports: No other Swiss city can claim a higher bicycle use, be it commuters riding to work or recreational cyclists on one of the numerous bike paths in the surrounding country side. Runners find unobstructed tracks along the shores of the river Rhine. Cross-country skiers can glide for miles and miles on the gentle runs in the canton of Jura. And after a short drive of less than two hours, alpine skiers and snowboarders will stand on pristine slopes in the Swiss Alps.
  • Where the borders of Switzerland, Germany and France meet, and an enticing diversity of activities awaits: A wine tasting in Alsace, a gourmet feast in Southern Baden-Württemberg or a cozy picnic on a mountain range in the Jura? In the Basel region there’s hardly a wish that cannot come true in an hour’s drive. And there’s always something new to discover! Ever wanted to jump in a cool river after a hot summer’s day? That’s when the shoreline of the river Rhine turns into a veritable Mediterranean Riviera – in the heart of the city of Basel.

Variety and diversity within short distances, a first-rate public transportation infrastructure like no other, and safety and political stability routinely place Switzerland in the top ranks of the leading quality of living surveys. All of this can easily be found in the Basel region, enriched with a unique mix of arts and culture, lifestyle and an international flair. Not surprisingly, Basel is considered one of Switzerland’s hippest and trendiest places among young Swiss.

Our services
Gabriela Güntherodt

Your contact person

Gabriela Güntherodt

Member of the Management Board, Head of International Markets & Promotion

Contact us

Invest in Basel Region

Is your company in expansion mode? Are you looking into establishing a presence in Europe and Switzerland to break into new markets? Then the Basel region is your location of choice. Within close proximity you’ll find everything you need for long-term and sustainable succeed.

A number of multinationals, first and foremost in life sciences, guarantee for a truly international business environment. The Basel region sports a global-minded talent pool, and a highly skilled workforce across the entire value chain and across functions. Located in the center of Europe and directly neighboring France and Germany, the Basel region offers an outstanding business framework while enjoying Switzerland’s world-renowned quality of life.

Would you like to find out how your company can benefit from establishing a presence in our business location? We’ll gladly show you how. Our specialists advise companies like yours during every stage of their expansion projects, comprehensively and expertly:

  • Evaluation: Taxes? Job market? Competitors? Permits? Industry environment? We compile all the relevant information and data about the Basel region and Switzerland for you, customized to your individual project requirements.
  • Site selection: any open questions? We facilitate contacts to the right experts to answer your questions. We’ll connect you to our government authorities, industry and legal experts, and provide professional support during your real estate search.
  • Site visit: would you like to get to know the Basel region first-hand? We’ll diligently plan your site visit and put together a customized itinerary, with maximum efficiency and fully matched to your requirements.
  • Business development: do you want to accelerate your business growth? We support you in establishing relations to local partners and organizations - accelerating your access to the Basel region’s highly diverse business and innovation ecosystem.                                        

Our services are free of charge to companies that are evaluating the Basel region as a potential business location, and hence will contribute to our dynamic business environment. Being innovative with an open mind for new ideas has a long tradition in the Basel region. We are looking forward to hearing about your business idea and helping you to become successful right from the start.

Gabriela Güntherodt

Your contact person

Gabriela Güntherodt

Member of the Management Board, Head of International Markets & Promotion

Contact us

Connecting Innovators

Connecting Innovators brings together ideas, companies and entrepreneurs. This happens both informally at the specialist events organized by BaselArea.swiss and also formally through the individual support provided by BaselArea.swiss for projects with the procurement of experts, cooperation partners and funding. And here the experts from BaselArea.swiss have a broad network of more than 8000 innovators they can fall back on.

In terms of subject areas, the focus of Connecting Innovators is on five core fields: Life Sciences, Medtech, Information and Communications Technology, Production Technologies and Micro, Nano & Materials. Each of these technology fields is managed by a specialist. In close collaboration with industry, the Technology Field Manager defines the programme of events, acts as contact partner for projects and cultivates partnerships with relevant research groups and other institutions in the Basel region.

Connecting Innovators thus offers the ideal entry point for gaining a foothold in the Basel region and profiting from its diverse innovation ecosystem. Entrepreneurs, innovators and experts get together for regular exchanges of ideas and know-how at more than 80 meetings each year – in a variety of formats:

  • Events: focus on knowledge transfer, offering companies and especially also start-ups the opportunity to present themselves and their projects and promoting regular exchanges of experience and knowledge across companies and disciplines among innovators in the Basel region.
  • Workshops: address a topic in depth by facilitating dialogue within a body of experts that extends across companies and disciplines – with the aim of exploring the spectrum of applications for new technologies and initiating concrete projects and cooperative ventures.
  • Technology & Innovation Circles: are seen as initiatives that run for several years in order to develop an innovation topic further within a community that extends across companies and disciplines and to exploit new market potential.

BaselArea.swiss also offers specific events and services to companies in the founding phase under Supporting Entrepreneurs.

Sebastien Meunier

Your contact person

Sebastien Meunier

Member of the Management Board, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Tel. +41 61 295 50 15

Sebastien Meunier

Your contact person

Sebastien Meunier

Member of the Management Board, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Contact us

Supporting Entrepreneurs

Looking to start a company? That’s great, because our region lives from entrepreneurship. As promoter of innovation and inward investment for the Basel region, BaselArea.swiss provides support especially for entrepreneurs focused on technology and innovation.

At the heart of the service we can offer is our programme of seminars and workshops:

  • Founder Course: The centrepiece of the supporting services on offer is our programme of seminars and workshops: our basic package - the founders’ course - is aimed at all interested parties planning to start a company. You can find an overview of the next courses here: Overview courses

The further range of support on offer is aimed exclusively at start-ups and entrepreneurs with concrete projects from the innovation and technology sector:

  • Seminars & Workshops for Entrepreneurs: These allow a more in-depth examination of various business issues, such as the business plan, funding, product development, pricing and intellectual property, as well as marketing and communications. This series of events is aimed exclusively at start-ups and high-tech SMEs with concrete innovation projects.

In addition to the courses and seminars, BaselArea.swiss also offers individual consultations on concrete projects. The focus here is exclusively on companies and projects with strong growth potential from the field of innovation and technology:

  • Connect & Advisory: In an initial consultation, our expert assesses the need for support and sets up contacts with specialists, research institutions or potential cooperation partners.
  • New Venture Assessment: In a guided process and at individually convened expert meetings, start-ups and innovative SMEs can get their business projects reviewed by established industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors. Further information

With these provide, BaselArea.swiss above all covers the early phase of founding a company. The aim is to valuable information and concrete recommendations between the initial idea and the actual start-up, right through to the first implementation plan and financing round. This not only gives entrepreneurs more security, but also enables them to speed up the implementation of their project quite considerably.

Sebastien Meunier

Your contact person

Sebastien Meunier

Member of the Management Board, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Contact us
Gabriel Schweizer

Your contact person

Gabriel Schweizer

Senior Project Manager Asia

Tel. +41 61 295 50 13


Accessing China

The importance of China as a place for doing business has increased enormously in the past few years – not only as an offshore destination for low-cost production of consumer goods, but also - and increasingly - as a major sales market. The expansion of business into China offers great growth potential especially for small to medium-sized enterprises in the high-tech sector. However, it is not easy to gain a foothold in this complex business area.

BaselArea.swiss therefore offers comprehensive support from a single source to companies in the Basel region (cantons Basel-Stadt, Basel-Land and Jura) – from the initial market evaluation through company trips to concrete procurement of business partners. Besides the necessary expertise, our advisors have excellent local contacts, which have been established over many years of exchanges both on the political and on the business level. BaselArea.swiss also cultivates a large network of companies and experts with experience of China who keep abreast of all the latest developments.

Companies can benefit specifically from the following services:

  • Connect & Advisory: provision of basic knowledge for building business operations in China and individual, case-by-case consulting by experts from Switzerland Global Enterprise.
  • Company and delegation trips: besides the official programme, contacts with potential business partners can also be initiated on an individual basis.
  • Events: deepening exchanges between China and the Basel region with the aim of developing new, shared business potential.

Life sciences companies also benefit from partnerships with the Zhangjiang High-Tech Park and the new Fenglin Life Sciences Park in Shanghai and thus have access to the leading life sciences hub in China. The longstanding team of local partners provides support in both building a business in Shanghai (product registration, funding, marketing and so on) and in establishing contacts with potential business partners and clients.

Gabriel Schweizer

Your contact person

Gabriel Schweizer

Senior Project Manager Asia

Tel. +41 61 295 50 13


Our Channels: EVENTS | REPORTS

report Life Sciences

“I enjoy thinking about seemingly unsolvable problems”


Andreas Plückthun continues his research where others stop: 40 employees work in his laboratory on protein engineering. Their results form the basis for three biotech companies: Morphosys in Munich, as well as Molecular Partners and G7 Therapeutics (today Heptares Zurich) in Schlieren. At the Antibody Congress 2017 in Basel, Andreas Plückthun told us why he remains true to his research.

Mr. Plückthun, you co-founded three biotech companies in three decades. How did this come about?

There was always this curiosity in the beginning to discover something – but never the wish to found a company. After we produced artificial antibodies and learned how to mimic the immune system, we established the company Morphosys. Then the next question arose: can we do this with other protein molecules and solve new problems? Out of this emerged Designed Ankyrin Repeated Proteins (DARPins) and a second company, Molecular Partners in Schlieren. The next challenge was then to stabilize receptors by means of protein engineering in order to develop better drugs for these points of attack. Based on this research, we founded the third company, G7 Therapeutics.

Who pushed ahead with the spin-offs each time?

For the first company, it was my research colleagues. I was the more sceptical of us three at the time. The other two companies were traditional spin-offs of my doctoral and postdoctoral students.

How are the companies doing today?

Morphosys now has 430 employees and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. We also received the first FDA approval for an antibody that is now available on the market. This is one of the few companies that is still doing exactly what we once wrote in the business plan, and successfully too. Molecular Partners has 130 employees, several Phase 2 and 3 studies, and, like Morphosys, is listed on the stock exchange. G7 Therapeutics was sold to the British company Heptares, which in turn belongs to the Japanese company Sosei. In short: all companies are doing well. I don’t consider founding a company to be a particular achievement. The achievement is more that the companies are flourishing and bringing drugs to the market.

What changes have you noticed over the decades when it comes to founding a company?

The climate has changed completely. It was totally against the grain in Europe 25 years ago to found a biotech company. That’s why people went to California. At a symposium in America, I was once introduced as a researcher and a founder with the words; “He’s like us.” It was very common there for a long time to be both a researcher and an entrepreneur. That scepticism has since disappeared here, and founding a company is now judged positively. A venture capital scene has also developed since then. To be fair, I have to say that it helps investors if you’ve already successfully founded a company. The first deal is always the hardest.

You seem to be quite successful when it comes to founding companies. Did it ever tempt you to move to one of your companies?

It was never a question for me to leave the university. It’s an incredible privilege to be paid by the state to do crazy things. I always wanted to think about the next challenge at the university. Not having to account for quarterly profits is the only way forward in this context. In a company that conducts research with money from investors, you simply cannot undertake the type of risky and long-term projects that interest me. But I can say that thanks to the companies that are based on my research, I have repaid my dividends and created many jobs.

So you’ll continue to devote yourself to basic research. Can this be steered towards commercialization at all?

We’ve always wanted to solve a problem that seemed important enough to us. At some point in the research the question arises of how to use the results, what you can make of them. If we hadn’t commercialized the results, the problems would have simply stopped at an interesting point. We would have stopped halfway along. This is comparable to a coming up with blueprint for a computer and then not building it. By founding the companies, we could ensure that the projects would continue.

Is there any collaboration with industry within the scope of your research?

Direct collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and our laboratory has never worked properly. Expectations and time horizons are very different. We develop new ideas and concepts that are often not exactly in keeping with large-scale pharmaceutical research. I don’t think anyone will feel offended when I say that the pharmaceutical industry is very conservative. We do have many contacts but hardly any collaboration. That being said, our spin-offs work very well with the pharmaceutical industry.

Which topics would you like to focus on next?

We are researching artificial viruses that cannot reproduce. The viruses should produce proteins directly in the body that are needed as therapeutic agents. This is so far away from practical implementation that such a project is only possible at a university. But I am absolutely convinced that it would have enormous significance if it worked. I couldn’t sit still if we didn’t at least try. We are once again trying to solve a problem in my laboratory that most people in the field would consider impossible to solve. That’s what makes me get up in the morning. I want to show how it works.

Learn more about Andreas Plückthun between basic research and biotech entrepreneurship at our event on 24 April 2018.

Andreas Plückthun (*1956) is a scientist whose research is focused on the field of protein engineering. He is the director of the department of biochemistry at the University of Zurich. Andreas Plückthun was appointed to the faculty of the University of Zurich as a Full Professor of biochemistry in 1993. Plückthun was group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry , Germany (1985-1993). He was elected to the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 1992, and named a member of the German National Academy of Science (Leopoldina) in 2003. He is cofounder of the biotechnology companies Morphosys (Martinsried, Germany), Molecular Partners AG (Zürich-Schlieren, Switzerland) and G7 Therapeutics (Zürich-Schlieren, Switzerland).

Interview: Annett Altvater and Stephan Emmerth, BaselArea.swiss

report ICT

swiss made software: Mehr als 500 Mitglieder zum 10. Jubiläum


event Life Sciences

BaseLaunch and LSZYSN present: How Roche collaborates and partners with early stage drug d...

Date: 11.04.2018

Place: Universität Zürich Irchel, Hörsaal Y15-G-19, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zürich

report BaseLaunch

Meet the BaseLaunch Startups


Six of the BaseLaunch startups recently started Phase II. They received either grants up to 250,000 Swiss francs or gained free of charge access to BaseLaunch laboratory and office space at the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area. Hear what the startups, the BaseLaunch team and selection committee members experienced in the first year. Find out more about what makes BaseLaunch unique.

The BaseLaunch accelerator is now open for applications for the second cycle. Entrepreneurs with a healthcare based project or a game-changing innovation in diagnostics, medtech or related field at the pre-seed or seed funding stage are invited to submit their applications to the program.

Following the application deadline on 14 May, promising projects will be admitted to the accelerator program for a period of 15 months. In phase I, the startups will benefit from the support of industry experts, office- and laboratory space free of charge and access to healthcare partners. After three months, they will be invited to present their idea to the selection committee. They will determine which promising startups will proceed to Phase II that runs for one year.

BaseLaunch is backed by five industry leaders — Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novartis Venture Fund, Pfizer, Roche and Roivant Sciences. Other public and private partners such as KPMG and Vossius & Partner also support the initiative.

report Invest in Basel region

Basel impresses with high quality of living


event Precision Medicine

DayOne Experts: «Digital nudges - Behavioural Economics in Healthcare Innovation and Digit...

Date: 11.04.2018

Place: Halle 7, Gundeldingerfeld, Dornacherstrasse 192, 4053 Basel

report Supporting Entrepreneurs

“As an entrepreneur, you have to own up to your decisions”


Five years ago, Alisée de Tonnac quit her job at L’Oréal and travelled the world to set up the first edition of the startup competition Seedstars World. Five years later, Seedstars is present in more than 85 cities worldwide, runs its own co-working and educational centers and plans to have 15 Seedspaces for co-working and co-living by the end of 2018. BaselArea.swiss sat down with Alisée de Tonnac after her keynote at the Swiss Innovation Forum that took place in Basel last November.

BaselArea.swiss: What was the most compelling argument for you to leave your career at an international corporation and become an entrepreneur?

Alisée de Tonnac: I remember coming across this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I thought: Gosh, I do the opposite. I was complacent (I wonder if that is not the definition of unhappy), my corporate and personal life at that time was not engaging me in the right fashion, or at least I did not know how to engage with it in the right fashion. I did not foresee that entrepreneurship and building something of my own was the necessary change, but it definitely became part of who I am today.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

First of all, I think there are different types of entrepreneurs. One builds everything from scratch and does not sleep until his idea transforms into reality. Others, like myself, follow; they support and scale the idea. So, potentially, entrepreneurship is for everyone, depending on your personality traits and of course you would need to be comfortable with uncertainty, taking risks, and self-management. I love about my lifestyle that I decide how my day roles out. It is spectacular. To be honest, one of the main ingredients to my professional and personal success is that I work with an unbelievable team. My co-founders make the difference. I do not know if I would have been able to launch a company on my own. The team is crucial – keep in mind that you spend every day with them.

What do you think is important in a team of co-founders?

My co-founders and I are very complementary. I am an operational person, definitely not a strategist. A strategist looks five years ahead, sees all the obstacles and still heads forward. More importantly though, we made sure that our values are aligned. We asked ourselves whether we would stick together during the highs and lows. Shared values have proven to be our biggest strength and one of the reasons why we are still sustaining, five years later. We want to build good things with good people. We believe that we can build a profitable business and be good, but more importantly we have an underlying foundation of values that keeps us together no matter what – at least until now...

Before you co-founded Seedstars, you worked with L’Oreal. How do you benefit from your corporate experience?

I learned so much in terms of business, culture, teamwork and social pressure. I also know what I do not want to do, which is just as important. It also taught me a lot on how I would want to build the culture within our new structure. The culture is so fundamental in managing and scaling the business. I think you learn while working at corporations what differentiates them and how a uniquely defined and communicated culture makes the difference.

What was the biggest surprise for you when becoming an entrepreneur?

The ownership of your day and actions. Because you really have to own up to your decisions. You cannot bullshit and you cannot hide behind the brand or the cc- emails. It was a bit terrifying initially to be the only person that can start the whole machine – and very gratifying at the same time.

You work with entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries. Which challenges are these entrepreneurs tackling?

In healthcare, we see many digital platforms, like one that allows you to recognize if a medicine is fake or not – which is an issue in Nigeria and other emerging markets. There are telemedicine platforms to connect rural areas with specialists and educational apps for pregnant women, as childbirth is still a huge cause of death in those regions.

Seedstars launched its own trainings. Why was that necessary?

There is talent everywhere, but not every talented person gets the same access to education, network opportunities and infrastructure. With our training, we tap talent that is not yet exposed to such opportunities.

What did you learn from your experience in Lagos?

We are in markets that represent a big part of the world. Exposing yourself to different consumer habits, radical transformations and growing cities helps to understand the world of tomorrow. We are living in a global economy today, the world does not end at the borders of a nation. People who ignore that fact are limiting themselves professionally and personally. Take Lagos, for example: there are 20 million people, the streets are buzzing, everyone is young and you witness a dynamic “everything is possible”- spirit. It is so contrary to coming back to Geneva where we have meters of space between one person and the next. After two weeks, I am complaining when the bus is five minutes late. We are very comfortable and very fortunate – which can also be seen as a problem for innovation. Being comfortable can be a goal, but it is in many ways the opposite of being innovative.

Your company is registered in Geneva. How important is the Swiss headquarters?

First of all, we are very proud of the “Swiss made” brand, which has supported us in successfully scaling the business around the world. The values that the flag carries – like quality, professionalism and neutrality – we aim to represent on the ground. As all partners grew up in Switzerland, we also keep close ties with our private and public network. Switzerland is an amazing hub with strong public institutions like the UN in Geneva or the WEF in Davos that play an important role in the markets where we are present with Seedstars. Many multinational companies residing here are also very interested in these emerging markets, not least in terms of talent acquisition. Moreover, they provide potential solutions. It is crucial to be present in Switzerland as well as in the countries where we have our competitions. Interestingly, we slowly start to see reverse innovation: Safaricom, the biggest mobile service provider in Kenya launched the payment solution M-Pesa. They are now testing their solution in Romania and Albania. I am certain that the usual way of doing business by conducting a product in the north and selling it in the south will blur out eventually.

About Alisée de Tonnac
Alisée graduated from HEC Lausanne and obtained her Masters in International Management at Bocconi University. The French citizen lived in Singapore, Silicon Valley, Switzerland, Italy and in Lagos, Nigeria. She was a product manager for luxury brands at L’Oreal Group and worked at Voyage Privé, a leading European startup. After traveling around the world for a year to set up the first edition of the Seedstars World startup competition back in 2013, Alisée is now managing the company. She has accumulated deep knowledge of trends in technology, social media & consumer behavior in emerging markets. Alisée is a board member of the School of Management of Fribourg and a member of the Swiss National Innovation Council. She was nominated Social Entrepreneur Forbes 30 under 30 in 2017 and was Innovation Fellow of Wired UK in 2015.

About Seedstars
Seedstars is a Switzerland based group with the mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. Seedstars connects stakeholders, builds companies from scratch with public and private partners, and invests in high growth startups within these ecosystems. Through different activities that range from startup scouting to company building and acceleration programs, the team has built the most powerful network of entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, corporations and government officials from more than 65 fast growing economies around the globe. Seedstars started running its operations in 2013, launching its startup competition model on 20 emerging markets. By 2018, the competition is present in more than 85 cities, and the Seedstars Group will be launching 15 strategic hubs (Seedspaces, co-working activities, acceleration programs and academy centres) around the world. The business model relies on recurring partnership deals with both local and international players seeking to be involved in impact investment in the fields of technology and innovation. Part of the revenue channels also includes a hybrid company building model through which Seedstars launches new companies in new markets, with tested business models adapted to the local environment. So far, Seedstars has invested in 15 startups. Another 10 to 15 investments are foreseen for the first semester of 2018.

report ICT

Fibre optic network boosts Basel’s appeal


event BaselArea.swiss

Seminar «How to start a company in Switzerland»

Date: 11.04.2018

Place: BaselArea.swiss, Dufourstrasse 11, 4010 Basel

report Supporting Entrepreneurs

"We're giving Basel Impact Hub fever"


Impact Hubs are a real success story. Founded in 2005 in London, there are now over 100 Impact Hubs around the world with more than 15,000 members. Following the lead from Bern, Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne, Basel will be the next Impact Hub in Switzerland. The force behind the movement is Hubbasel, an association founded by entrepreneur André Moeri, sustainability expert Connie Low and lawyer Hanna Byland. We wanted to know why an Impact Hub is more than just a coworking space and how entrepreneurs as well as investors and companies benefit from them, so we talked with Hanna Byland to shed some light for us.

Ms Byland, you have been volunteering at Hubbasel since early 2017. How did that come about?

Hanna Byland: I was invited to the opening of the Impact Hub in Bern and was excited by the concept. So I asked around a bit about whether efforts were being made in Basel to create one and that is how I came into contact with Connie Low and André Moeri. We share the same values, from respectful collaboration and a positive vision of the future to a readiness to get actively involved in the cause. At the same time, each of us brings a different skill set to the table. Connie is well established in the sustainability arena and is a constantly positive driving force. André looks after the company components and has a knack for seeing the potential in people and ideas. I'm the more practical one, keeping an eye on all of the legal and feasibility aspects – it's an ideal combination. We founded Hubbasel at the start of 2017 and at this point there are eight of us in total. All of us have worked tirelessly on making the plans a reality and already everyone's contributions have gotten us a nomination in the global network for the status of "Impact Hub Candidate".

When will the Basel Impact Hub open?

We would like to open in the second half of 2018. At the moment we are set up at Andreas Erbe's Launchlab. It's an ideal location. Really inspiring. But we're still looking for our own space with 1,000 to 2,000 square metres. The space should be laid out so that companies can flexibly grow or shrink depending on the circumstances.

How is an Impact Hub different from a coworking space?

An Impact Hub always consists of three components: Inspire - Connect - Enable. Companies, investors and creative people come together in an Impact Hub to find inspiration and support for their plans. We don't just want to create a workspace, but a networking space. Every Impact Hub is connected to a location, but it also offers the opportunity to access other Impact Hubs all over the world to find like-minded people and in that way generate local ideas with global impact. The people who find each other here want to make the world just that little bit better through their work, their company or their innovations. They are lofty goals, but we have to start somewhere, right?

There are already Impact Hubs in Zurich, Bern, Geneva and Lausanne. Why does Basel need another one?

Geneva is focused on exchange with international organisations. Bern is government-oriented. Zurich is closer to the business world. I'm of the opinion that Basel is a perfect breeding ground for an Impact Hub. We've got a good number of multinational corporations and at the same time the population here has a heightened sense of responsibility. That combination is unique.

How does this sense of responsibility manifest itself in Basel?

In loads of smaller initiatives and in the activities of its many foundations, but also in locations like the Markthalle or the Gundeldingerfeld area. Basel places a lot of value on the sustainable development of the city and its spaces. Food production, nutrition and food waste as well as social justice in terms of equality of opportunity in education and treatment are all important topics for the Basel community. There are a lot of players and projects that are pushing in the same direction. Still, many of these initiatives are single projects. We believe that we can bundle these forces more effectively, even on a global level, through the Impact Hub network.

Who is the Basel Impact Hub for?

We want to get companies in here that are interested in sustainability, give them a place they can call home, and show them that they aren't alone. For companies, the Impact Hub is also a source of new talent. And for investors there is no comparable platform. You have to figure that for investors it's hard work to find good companies in which they want to invest. We can help them with that. Universities are also interested in a place of collaboration. They have the knowledge and the educated people, and then through us they can access real-life applications.

What has the feedback been so far?

It has been very positive. Our communications channels including newsletters, meet-ups and Facebook are all very actively used. Once a month we organise events to find out how our community is developing. There are typically between 40 and 60 people at the events. The exchange is lively and the feedback is really inspiring. In future we would like to offer even more, from workshops, event series and hack-a-thons to accelerators, incubators and fellowships. With the last three ideas, it is really important to us to work with local players. We were able to get the Christoph Merian Foundation, the Gebert Rüf Foundation and the Fondation Botnar to provide us with some initial support. We were incredibly excited about that, of course.

So what is the focus of your events?

We always have entrepreneurs as guests who we then put together with investors and coaches. Typically, we select a certain topic or area that is particularly difficult and focus on that. We find that many of them enjoy offering and applying their skills and support. At this point, we just need a place where we can host those kinds of exchanges and where these ideas can become projects and business ideas. The next public event where we will be working with students from the University of Applied Sciences of North West Switzerland (FHNW) will take place on 13 February 2017.

About Hanna Byland
Hanna Byland is a legal assistant at the law and notary offices of Neidhardt/Vollenweider/Jost/Stoll/Gysin/Tschopp in Basel. She studied law at the Universities of Lucerne and Neuchâtel. Hanna Byland was a member of the Young Liberals in Aargau and has been a volunteer at Hubbasel since the start of 2017.

Interview: Annett Altvater

report Invest in Basel region

Technologiepark Basel verdoppelt seine Fläche


event Innovation

Seminar «Clevere Preisgestaltung für innovative Produkte und Services»

Date: 12.04.2018

Place: Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area AG, Gewerbestrasse 24, 4123 Allschwil

report Precision Medicine

“Precision medicine is the best opportunity to reconfigure healthcare”


After 20 years with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, Bernard Munos set out to better understand pharmaceutical innovation – specifically what makes it possible and how to get more of it. Munos is now a Senior Fellow at Faster Cures, a Center of the Milken Institute, and the founder of the consultancy InnoThink, which advises biomedical research organizations on how to become better innovators. He also contributes to Forbes magazine, an American business publication. Munos travelled to Basel in October, on behalf of HKBB and DayOne to participate in the “Powertalk”.

Mr. Munos, precision medicine has been around for a couple of years. These days everybody seems to talk about it. Why is that?

Bernard Munos: The healthcare system is increasingly torn apart by powerful forces. On one hand, science is delivering amazing things such as protein therapeutics (peptides, monoclonal antibodies); cellular therapies (CAR-T); gene editing (CRISPR); and a growing array of technologies based on a molecular understanding of diseases. The only problem is that this is very expensive. In addition, the population is aging, and older people tend to get diseases that are costlier to treat. The result is nearly infinite demand for costly care, which is clashing with the limited resources available to fund it. But, as it turns out, precision medicine is the most promising opportunity to change the economics of pharmaceutical R&D, reconfigure healthcare, and deliver affordable care to all.

In other words: the current system is not built to distribute the benefits of the new technologies?

For decades, R&D was much simpler: We took a disease that we typically did not fully understand, threw a bunch of compounds at it and saw if something would work. If it did, you had a drug. This was crude, but not a bad strategy since it gave us drugs long before we understood the diseases they treated. Sometimes, however, it does not work. For example, we have thrown over 350 compounds at Alzheimer’s, but none has worked, and we still do not know what causes the disease. There’s got to be a better way, and that is precision medicine.

What will change with precision medicine?

Once we understand how diseases work, our capabilities are so powerful that we can often design a disease modifying molecule literally within months. Precision medicine, along with the technologies that enable it, will give us the insights we need to develop those drugs. But it translates into a smarter – and ultimately cheaper –  way to do science and develop drugs –which is why it will prevail.

What do we need to establish to get precision medicine taking up more speed?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the number one impediment to innovation is the lack of natural histories for most diseases. This means that we do not have baseline data that describes the course of the disease, and therefore we cannot measure the improvement that a therapy would bring. It really limits our ability to innovate. Many diseases progress quietly for many years before they are diagnosed. Take Alzheimer’s or pancreatic cancer: by the time they show symptoms, it is too late for an intervention. Precision medicine will change that by collecting data while the diseases progress but the patients are asymptomatic. This will advance disease discovery and give us the knowledge we need to develop better therapies. Much of this will be enabled by new and inexpensive data-capture technologies such as biosensors, apps and other plug-in devices that are advancing very rapidly.

But first of all this means new investments – who is going to pay for all this?

At the moment, public companies spend US$110 billion per year on clinical research, much of which goes to collect data. This is an enormous amount of money, and companies gather indeed vast quantities of data, but they are limited in scope and often of mediocre quality. In 2014, the company Medidata Solutions ran an experiment to test the capabilities of biosensors. They assembled a couple hundred patients and equipped them with a few low-cost biosensors such as activity trackers and heart monitors. Over a couple of months, they collected up to 18 million data points per patient and per day. That data was later reviewed by regulators and declared to be “FDA-compliant”. One key point, however, is that its collection cost was trivial. Other evidence suggests that, by redesigning trials to leverage digital technologies, we can cut down the cost of data collection by as much as 80 percent. This is big enough to change the economics of clinical research, but it does more. It also enables better research. Today, drug trials focus on homogenous patient populations, because one needs to minimize the sources of variance. But the result is trials that do not represent very well the populations that we want to treat. Biosensors, on the other hand, can collect lots of data on larger populations, and statistical significance is usually not an issue. It is also high-frequency longitudinal data which gives us a much better picture of what happens to patients.

How will this change medicine?

Today, when someone comes down with Alzheimer’s, we don’t know when it started, or why, and therefore have no way to intervene on the course of the disease before it is too late. If we had data on pre-symptomatic patients, scientists could look back and pinpoint when the disease might have started and how it progressed. With such information, we could design better drugs and intervene earlier when the prognosis is better and treatment costs cheaper. It could potentially move medicine from treatment to prevention, but implementing it won’t be easy. Our whole healthcare system is designed to treat not prevent. Changing it will require a lot of retraining, but it’s the way to go.

Crucial will be the question who owns the data and who will have access to the data?

A key requirement of precision medicine is that data needs to be connected. It will be scattered over hundreds of databases, but they need to be interfaced so that they can easily be searched. Some of the data will be public, but much of them will be collected and controlled by the patients themselves. A majority of patients has signaled a willingness to share their data for legitimate research purposes, but whoever controls data will also control innovation. Patients hold values that are dear to them – such as transparency, openness, and affordability – and they will likely expect the recipients of their data to comply with these values. This will be a big change for the culture of R&D and will have significant consequences for the design of clinical research.

This will change the Value Chain – who will win, who will loose?

Precision medicine will bring some desirable changes: Historically pharmaceutical companies have generated their own data and competed on the basis on such proprietary data. Increasingly, however, data will become a commodity. For instance, the data from the “All-of-Us” million patient cohort that the U.S. National Institutes of Health is assembling will be in public access. There are numerous other large patient cohorts around the world that are being created and whose data will also be public. This will change the basis of competition. Scientists will increasingly work from shared, public data, and their performance will depend upon their ability to extract superior knowledge from the same data used by their peers

What does this mean for the Basel Life Science Cluster?

Big corporations struggle to generate enough internal innovation. The bigger they get, the greater the bureaucracy and the more regimented they become. This creates a climate that is less hospitable to innovation precisely at a time when large companies need more of it. To sustain revenue, they must access a source of external innovation that can supplement their own.  Relying on licensing, mergers or acquisitions does not work well, as companies seldom find what they want to buy at a price they are willing to pay. Innovation hubs such as BaselLaunch or DayOne are a better solution. They allow the local community to create shared infrastructure – such as incubators and support services – that can become a global magnet for entrepreneurs. They also give the local large companies an opportunity to mentor the startups and offer scientific support. For them, it is a way to seed the local ecosystem with innovation that they can harvest later on.  Basel is especially suited for this because innovation tends to blossom where cultures overlap. This has been a factor in the city’s past success, and it is an asset that can be leveraged again.

Do we have enough data scientists?

You certainly have them in Switzerland. Data sciences have long been a strength of Swiss education. It goes hand-in-hand with engineering, physics and other sciences in which Switzerland excels. It is also an important advantage since there is an acute shortage of data scientists around the world. Processing the big data flows discussed earlier requires much larger numbers of data scientists that we are currently training. In America, this has been identified as a critical workforce issue. Switzerland is in a stronger position.

Would an open data platform work like a catalyst?

Scientists flock to data. In all scientific projects, a huge amount of resources – as much as 80% – is spent on data collection and cleanup, which are seldom the most interesting parts. If Basel can offer rich data that is already curated, scientists will be able to accomplish much more while focusing on the part of their work where they really add value. Having data in open free access will also help attract researchers from other disciplines who currently do not engage in biomedical research – such as mathematicians and artificial intelligence experts. Such cross-pollination is a powerful catalyst of innovation.

About Bernard Munos
Munos is a Senior Fellow at FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, and the founder of InnoThink, a consultancy for biomedical research organizations. He regularly contributes to Forbes and is a board member and independent non-executive director of innovative healthcare companies.

Interview: Thomas Brenzikofer, Annett Altvater

report Invest in Basel region

More expats at Basel’s schools


event Innovation

Finance your Innovation – non-dilutive funding and support for startups and SMEs

Date: 17.04.2018

Place: Parterre Rialto, Birsigstrasse 45, 4054 Basel

report Innovation

“We want to improve the visibility of startups at the University of Basel”


Christian Elias Schneider has been Head of Innovation at the University of Basel for eight months now. His job is to promote entrepreneurship and projects in collaboration with industry.

Mr. Schneider, you took on a newly created post at the University of Basel. The idea is to give innovation a face at the university. What specifically does that mean in terms of your work?

We picked two focal areas: first, attention should be drawn to the topic of entrepreneurship at the university. Researchers with good ideas should have incentives to monetize these ideas. And those who are already working towards this goal should receive more support. The second focal area is on collaboration with the business world. The objective here is to realize more projects together with industry partners.

How do you go about this task?

In the many conversations I’ve had with startups at the university in recent months, it has become clear that there are hardly any connections within this scene; many of the entrepreneurs have never met each other. Of course, many young entrepreneurs struggle with the same problems, so we brought them together and founded the Entrepreneurs Club to give them a platform for sharing and discussion. We want the entrepreneurs to see themselves as a team – a group that is recognized and valued by the university and by society. We can offer them access to people who would be difficult to approach individually.

What can you offer the entrepreneurs? What have they been waiting for, and what have they been lacking?

First, the startups at the university were lacking visibility. People didn’t know who they were, and they were often completely on their own. We believe our role is to offer them visibility – both within the university and externally – and help them build relationships with industry partners, the financial sector and other service providers. There are also plans to offer startups expert coaching and mentoring at an early stage.

For a few months you have been offering courses that teach University of Basel students and staff important startup skills, such as preparing business plans, handling IP rights and much more. How have these new resources been received?

Demand is huge. We have been practically overrun and overwhelmed by the success. As a result, we are considering to expand the service, with the goal of talking to students about these important issues at an early stage. The earlier that entrepreneurs deal with these issues, the fewer mistakes they will make later. For example, it’s important that we make researchers aware of IP issues very early in the game. Otherwise, they run the risk of revealing important knowledge too soon and then being unable to protect it. These courses offer help at an early stage, and this support can then be smoothly incorporated into coaching.

For the last eight months, you have been Head of Innovation at the University of Basel. What responses have you seen so far?

Everyone I’ve talked to in recent months has given very positive – in fact, enthusiastic – feedback about our innovation initiative and other resources. Clearly, it was time that the University of Basel actively tackled this issue and filled a gap.

On November 10, the University of Basel will be holding its first Innovation Day in Allschwil. What can we expect?

At the Innovation Day, we will demonstrate what is important to us: bringing people together, debating innovation, developing new ideas – and doing this in a stimulating and open atmosphere. More than 200 people have signed up, the waiting list is long and we’re happy that this new event has been so well received right from the start.

What would you like to achieve over the next two years?

Startups should feel at home at the University of Basel. The individuals should connect with each other, and an active, dynamic scene should emerge that will also interest startups in the region as a whole. In the long term, we may certainly evolve into a hub with an international appeal that will attract founders and young entrepreneurs. We want to help Basel become a preferred place for many startups to realize their visionary ideas. We will be able to do this only if we work closely with all partners: with the local universities, with institutions such as BaselArea.swiss – and, most importantly, with industry partners. In discussion with business, it is clear that the doors are open.

Interview: Matthias Geering, Head of Communications & Marketing at University of Basel

report Invest in Basel region

Branch of Innovation Park in Jura


event BaseLaunch

Roivant Sciences – How to create a multi-billion-dollar pharma company in four years from ...

Date: 18.04.2018

Place: BIOCLUSTER des HARAS, salle de réunion Biocluster 3, 23 rue des Glacières Strasbourg