The Greater Zurich Area is one of the leading locations for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in Europe. The region is home to the innovative companies in the world, from Biogen and Johnson & Johnson to Roche and Amgen, and attracts capital and researchers from all over the world.
Thanks to its unique combination of academic excellence and a liberal economy, the Greater Zurich Area is one of the leading life science centers in Europe. Distinguished academic quality, high profile education programs and the above-average quality of life render Zurich not only very competitive in the global market for talent at student and professorial, but also at the entrepreneurial level. Aided by the proximity to top pharmaceutical and medical technology companies such as Biogen Idec, Roche Diagnostics, Stryker or Zimmer and to the strong financial sector in Zurich, outstanding academic achievements in the biomedical sciences serve as a motor for innovation in the biotech and medtech sector. Joint activities of universities and private companies provide favorable conditions for young start-up companies as well as large multinational corporations.
Leading life sciences hub in Europe
In recent years, the Greater Zurich Area has evolved into a dynamically expanding center for the life sciences industry. Today, life sciences is one of the industries with the strongest representation in the region. In fact, the Greater Zurich Area is one of the most important life-sciences centers in Europe today. Many international companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology sectors have settled in the Greater Zurich Area, particularly companies in the field of rare diseases and oncology such as Bluebird Bio, Sage Therapeutics, Tesaro or Alnylam.
The secret of success is simple: marrying first-class world-renowned academic institutions with strategic investors, management friendly regulatory agencies, and leading IP protection strategies results in an unbeatable market advantage which allows companies to be one step ahead of the competition. And the infrastructure offerings in the Greater Zurich Area for life sciences companies and for exchanges between academia and industry will be further expanded in the coming years. 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).
Approximately 40% of life science companies based in Switzerland perform R&D in the country and approximately 45% have their manufacturing in Switzerland. Switzerland has a relatively high 9% of phase 3 products in development. SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich is one of the leading European stock exchanges and is ranked first in the field of life sciences. Roughly 40% of the capital of European life science companies is currently traded at SIX.
The Future of Life Sciences Innovation in Zurich
The infrastructure offering for life sciences in the Greater Zurich Area is being expanded substantially. The Bio-Technopark in Zurich, Schlieren is constantly further developed in order to meet the needs of both the existing and newly launched companies. Over the coming years, the site will be transformed into a campus-like environment that will facilitate exchanges between the companies on site, the research institutions nearby, and outside companies. Balgrist Campus, a research and development building for musculoskeletal medicine, is under construction in the southeast side of Zurich in the lakeside area of University Clinic Balgrist. Health Tech Cluster Switzerland (HTCS), located in the canton of Schwyz in the center of the Greater Zurich Area, has been launched in May 2014. HTCS is bringing together companies from medical technology, healthcare, biotechnology, pharmaceutical sciences and molecular biology. Several real estate projects are being planned in the area around HTCS. While Davos in the Swiss Alps has a long-standing tradition in the treatment of immunologic and inflammatory diseases, the town currently sets up a worldwide unique new campus dedicated to the treatment, research and education in the fields of asthma and allergies. The project is led by three Davos-based institutions, the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research, the Christine Kühne – Center for Allergy Research and Education, and the "Hochgebirgsklinik Davos".