Switzerland and particularly the Greater Zurich Area is a leading destination for life sciences and tech companies in Europe. Google, IBM Research, Disney Research, Roche Diagnostics, Biogen, Johnson & Johnson, and other industry leaders are located less than an hour apart from each other.
While life sciences continued to grow at a high level in recent years, investment in information and communications technology (ICT) in 2016 doubled from that in 2015, resulting in new records in the total number of financing rounds and invested capital:
Besides increasing investments in Switzerland, I personally see 5 main reasons, why the Greater Zurich Area is a Hotbed for Bio-IT:
1. Europe’s Life Sciences Center
The Greater Zurich Area has become a hotspot for innovation in life sciences. According to KPMG’s life sciences cluster report, Switzerland has the most life science clusters out of six examined European countries (UK, Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, France and Switzerland). About 40% of the Swiss-based life sciences companies perform R&D in the country and approximately 45% have their manufacturing in Switzerland. Companies: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche Diagnostics, Biogen, Actavis, Janssen-Cilag, Johnson & Johnson, Alexion, Cardinal Health, Cytori, Takeda, Onyx, etc.
2. ICT is a Key Area for the Swiss Economy
Swiss companies are willing to quickly adapt to new ICT solutions to increase efficiency and profitability. The sector employs a significant number of highly skilled professionals. Zurich, for example, hosts Google’s largest engineering office outside the U.S., with 2,000 employees from 75 countries. Companies: Google, IBM Research, Disney Research, Uber, Avaloq, Veeam, Crealogix, Evernote, Kayak, etc.
3. Fast and Secure Data Storage
Switzerland offers excellent server infrastructure, rapid internet connections, a stable and cost-effective power supply and well-trained ICT technicians. It also has high standards in data protection and offers political and economic stability. This has prompted Equinix, the world’s largest IBX data center and colocation provider, to expand its data center in the Greater Zurich Area. Companies: Interxion, Equinix, Deltalis, Swiss Data Safe, Akamai, ICT-Center, Hitachi, NetApp, e-Shelter, Rackspace, etc.
4. Highest Concentration of Biometricians
Leading research institutes in the Greater Zurich Area such as the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich drive developments in bioinformatics, especially in microarray and next generation sequencing. Today, Switzerland has the highest concentration of biometricians in the world. Find out more about the bioinformatic community and the collaboration between research institutes and industrial partners in Switzerland on www.sib.swiss
5. Artificial Intelligence – Decoding the Brain
In the Greater Zurich Area, the smartest minds worldwide work on decoding the human brain and groundbreaking technologies in the field of artificial intelligence. Institutes and companies: IBM Research Zurich, Google (research center for Machine Learning), Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems lab at ETH Zurich, Robotics and Perception Group at the University of Zurich, SwissCognitive network, etc .
I’m happy to talk to you about the opportunities for your company at Bio-IT 2017 from May 23-25 in Boston. Let me know if you want to meet – you can also download the overview of the Bio-IT environment in the Greater Zurich Area here.
About the author
Lukas Sieber is Executive Director USA at Greater Zurich Area (GZA). Prior to GZA, he worked at Burson-Marsteller Switzerland as digital strategist, developing digital and social media campaigns for national and international clients in the EMEA region. Previous to Lukas’ position at Burson-Marsteller, he worked at the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C., and was responsible for all public diplomacy activities and programs for the Swiss government throughout the United States. Lukas hold a master’s degree from the University of Zurich in Political Science and Geography and earned a postgraduate certificate in International Business Management from Georgetown University.