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Switzerland: Biotech Innovation, Expertise, and Reliability

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Guest Author
April 15, 2021

Much has changed in the past year. Switzerland, however, remains a global leader in biotech innovation.

New companies are leading the way. Deep Breath Intelligence, a spin-off from some of the top Swiss universities, is using artificial intelligence to uncover the full potential of Molecular Breath Analysis for precision medicine applications. Diaxxo, founded in 2020 at ETH Zurich, has developed simple and precise Point-of-Care PCR test to help doctors identify and treat diseases faster. Saverna Therapeutics, a company that is just 4 years old, is using the latest artificial intelligence tools and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to reduce the time and cost of drug discovery.

Established companies that are synonymous with Switzerland, such as Novartis, are also playing a vital role in helping to foster this innovation. Just last year, Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area, a site developed to help digital health and personalized medicine companies grow, opened a new location on the Novartis campus. Sophie Cerny, who leads on promoting this park and other Switzerland Innovation sites to US companies says the park will “act as a catalyst for innovation and establish a closeness between startups and scientist from Novartis.”

The Swiss Biotech Association is an industry group representing the interest of biotech companies in Switzerland. Scrolling through their list of members you will see many familiar names. Global companies continue to set up operations in Switzerland year-after-year. Attracted to the country by a business-friendly environment, an abundance of top tier-talent, and broad support for developing transformative ideas. Switzerland being geographically in the center of Europe but not in the European Union is also a factor as companies can apply for fast rack licensing that is recognized by the EU.

Andre Guedel, a director at KPMG Switzerland says that “Switzerland continues to be a leading global life sciences hub: Some of the largest pharmaceutical companies have their global or regional HQs located in Switzerland along with large R&D and manufacturing facilities. In addition, many smaller US biotech companies operate their European businesses from out of Basel, Zug, Zürich or the Lake Geneva region.”

For companies asking how they may be able to tap into this ecosystem the Swiss Business Hub USA is available to help. SBH USA, part of the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, supports Swiss companies with their US market strategy as well as US companies interested in considering Switzerland as a business location. For the Hub, streamlining the process of expanding into Switzerland is key.

To meet with Swiss companies attending BIO or the Swiss Business Hub please stop by the virtual Swiss Pavilion.

About the Author

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Sean Powers, Trade Commissioner of Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs/Swiss Business Hub USA 

This piece was submitted as part of the Global Marketplace at BIO Digital 2021. The NEW Global Marketplace at BIO Digital is designed to be the destination to showcase any region’s biotech strength and elevate its leading companies via high-energy, fast-paced presentations, coupled with live face-to face networking. Learn more here.