Stephan Emmerth

Stephan Emmerth

PhD | Director Therapeutic Innovation and BaseLaunch

Tel. +41 61 295 50 17

report Life Sciences
Swiss biotech industry growing


Swiss biotech industry growing

Switzerland’s biotech industry achieved growth in 2018, the Swiss Biotech Report from EY has found. The initial public offering of Basel-based company Polyphor greatly boosted capital investment in the sector. The report highlights Roivant Sciences with headquarters in Basel as a success story.

Last year was once again a success for Switzerland’s biotech industry. Not only did the number of companies increase, but growth was also recorded in sales, liquidity, exports and research investments. These are findings from the latest Swiss Biotech Report, which was presented by EY on Tuesday.

The sector in Switzerland consisted of 249 biotech developers and 63 suppliers last year, which is in both cases an increase on the previous year. The number of employees also rose by around 4 percent to over 14,300. In 2018, sales in the biotech industry were up 6 percent to total 4 billion Swiss francs.

Capital investment in listed biotech companies saw an especially striking increase. They raised 1.26 billion francs overall in 2018. This figure was above all attributable to a few companies receiving major investment. Companies mentioned in the report include PolyphorIdorsia from Allschwil BL and CRISPR Therapeutics. “This IPO (harvesting CHF 155 million) was among the most successful European IPOs in the past year,” EY states in the report. Privately held biotech companies received investment of 357 million francs. Of capital investment and sales generated in 2018, around 30 percent then went into research.

Basel biotech Roivant Sciences is presented as a success story in the report. Founded in New York, the company moved its global headquarters to Basel in 2016. Sascha Bucher, Roivant’s Head of the Basel Office and Head of Global Transactions, praised the location of Basel in an interview contained in the report. The city offers a deep and diverse talent pool and has a central location in the heart of Europe, he said. With Roche and Novartis, Basel is home to two of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. According to Sascha Bucher, the Basel authorities and the team make it very easy for companies to establish operations in the city. He also strongly encourages growing biotech companies that are expanding to Europe to consider Basel.

EY presented its latest report at the Swiss Biotech Day. In the context of this event, the Swiss Biotech Association honored several companies, which had been nominated last year, with Swiss Biotech Success Stories Awards in recognition of outstanding achievements across the biotech industry. Basel vaccine specialist Okairos, now part of GlaxoSmithKline, is among the award winners. Actelion from Allschwil BL was nominated for the coming Swiss Biotech Success Stories Award 2019/2020.

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