Biogen is currently invested around 1.5 billion Swiss francs into its new plant in Luterbach in the canton of Solothurn. It will combine the most advanced concepts in cell culture technology and protein purification, allowing Biogen to produce biopharmaceuticals on a large scale there and meet the growing demand for high-quality medicines. The plant will house a laboratory, offices, utility buildings and warehouses, and 600 new jobs will be created beginning in 2019.
As a new study from the independent economic research institute BAK Economics shows, Biogen’s investment is having a major impact on the region’s economy. Numerous construction contracts have been awarded to Swiss companies. For example, the local energy supplier AEK Onyx has laid 120 tonnes of copper cable to connect the new building.
Many contracts will also be awarded to third parties once the new plant goes into operation. “To ensure that production runs smoothly, we will need electricians to conduct maintenance or cooks and service personnel for the onsite staff canteen,” said Rico Domenig, director of facilities at Biogen.
The local tourism industry is also benefiting from Biogen’s site. “We expect a demand of 1,500 overnight stays in the region for the year 2017. In addition, more than 70 apartments have been rented for project staff staying there longer,” said Markus A. Zieger, director of corporate affairs at Biogen.
According to modelling done by BAK Economics, more than 2,000 jobs are connected to this investment. In total, the project is generating a gross added value of more than 800 million francs.
Biogen’s decision to open a plant in Luterbach is attracting others to the region, putting Solothurn on the map as a business location, said Sarah Koch, head of the Solothurn Economic Development Agency. “The fast administrative handling of Biogen’s move will serve as a benchmark for other companies in the future,” added Daniel Probst, director of the Solothurn Chamber of Commerce.