850 entrepreneurs, investors and representatives of biotech companies gathered yesterday at the Swiss Biotech Day in Basel. As it was one of the first events which were held physically the participants enjoyed the possibility to network. The pitch sessions were also very well attended. In total, more than 30 start-ups presented themselves, either developing new therapies or new technology for biotech companies, for example in the field of drug development. In addition, the ten start-ups selected for the Venture Leaders Biotech Programme also presented themselves. Lists of the startups can be found in the Biotech Day programme.
Brought to public attention by the Covid pandemic, the biotech industry has become very popular among investors. «By July 2021, investors invested around 2 billion Swiss francs in Swiss biotech companies. 80 percent thereof was raised by IPOs and companies listed on the stock exchange. In the first seven months of this year alone, five Swiss biotech companies successfully went public» says Jürg Zürcher, expert and EY Senior Advisor Biotechnology, in his update on this year’s Swiss Biotech Report.
The success stories of Bachem, Basilea, Esbatech, Lonza or Novimmune demonstrate the broad-based success of this industry. Consequently, these companies are honored with a «Swiss Biotech Success Stories Award» at the Swiss Biotech Day. In his keynote address, Roger Nitsch, CEO of Neurimmune, explains the important role Switzerland plays in the development of new drugs, such as Aducanumab. Aducanumab has recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. It was discovered by Neurimmune in collaboration with the University of Zurich and will be marketed by Biogen. Biogen will produce Aducanumab at its new manufacturing site in Luterbach in the canton of Solothurn.
Switzerland as a global producer
The competitive advantages of Switzerland, such as global networks, highly qualified talent, political stability and neutrality are being used by both multinational pharma companies as well as contract manufacturers to produce highly complex biopharmaceuticals and products in the field of novel gene and cell therapies. The rapid expansion of companies such as Lonza, Bachem, Siegfried, Dottikon and Celonic, demonstrate the potential of Switzerland to produce for a global demand. «The Swiss biotech and pharma industry covers the entire value chain and has significant – and growing – production capacities. For example, Merck has invested more than 400 million Swiss francs in new production capacities in Switzerland over the past two years, Biogen more than 1 billion Swiss francs in its site in Luterbach, and Lonza has built three new vaccine production lines in Visp,» emphasizes Michael Altorfer, CEO of the Swiss Biotech Association.
(Press release / SK)