Successful entrepreneurs who become start-up investors and ultimately creative young entrepreneurs themselves are not only to be found in San Francisco and in fast-paced TV formats. You can also find them in the Greater Zurich Area. One of them is Dr. Arne-C. Faisst, founder of abc biopply ag in Solothurn.
The virologist, who comes from Germany, worked for many years as a top manager in the MedTech industry. More precisely, for the orthopaedic companies DePuy Synthes and Mathys. Sooner or later, his career took him to the southern foot of the Jura, where the headquarters of these companies are located. They are part of an important industry hotspot with international appeal. Over 10 percent of all Swiss MedTech jobs are located between Olten and Grenchen – less than an hour’s drive from Zurich. Most of them work directly or indirectly in the field of orthopaedic implants.
Creative talent and technical know-how
After his last position as CEO and Board Member of Mathys AG, he did not move to America, but initially remained loyal to the Solothurn region as an investor and finally as a young entrepreneur. In 2014, he founded the investment company anfass Life Technologies and then the biotech start-up abc biopply AG. The innovative young company is on the market with a novel test system that allows tumors to be cultured in the test tube under conditions that are as natural as possible. This system offers previously unimagined possibilities in tumor research and treatment. Maybe this is just the beginning. The company is already testing other applications: “I hope that my team will soon be able to breed micro-livers. This would be a major step forward in the testing of new drugs,” said Faisst.
MedTech and BioTech move closer together
As a graduate biochemist and business economist with many years of experience in MedTech, the creative entrepreneur noticed early on that MedTech and Biotech are moving ever closer together. This phenomenon is now making exciting headlines time and again: Last year, Biogen and Siemens announced a cooperation in the field of multiple sclerosis and recently Sensile Medical AG, based in Olten, announced an alliance with Sanofi in the development of a new pump system for insulin administration.
“There are many new biologically active implants and innovative new materials for the application of biological components,” says Faisst. However, cross-industry development is often a challenge in the innovation process. In this respect, the increased establishment of biotech companies together with the high density of existing MedTech companies in Canton Solothurn offers an ideal environment for start-ups such as abc biopply. “Today,” says Faisst, “there are already very close contacts between abc biopply and the MedTech companies in the region.”
About the author
Roger D. Graber studied economics and history in Zurich and Brussels. After several years in management consulting, he now works as project manager for the business development department of the Canton of Solothurn in the Greater Zurich Area.