More and more Chinese biotech companies are interested in the Greater Zurich Area. According to Tigermed, a global contract research organization, it is perfectly suited as a strategic location and could be mutually beneficial for biotech scenes from both regions.
China is the second largest pharma marketin the world and could soon overtake the USA in first place. “The Greater Zurich Area plays an important role for internationally active Chinese biotech companies,” says Stella Gu, the General Manager of Tigermed Swiss – one of the largest Chinese contract research organizations for biopharmaceutical and medical technology products. In 2017, Tigermed settled in Zug. As a contract research organization (CRO), Tigermed supported around 2,100 clients with clinical research over the entire product life cycle and conducts clinical trials in China and across the whole world, for example. Its client base contains the top 20 pharmaceutical companies in the world as well as many SMEs. Tigermed operates more than 170 subsidiaries in 46 countries with over 7,600 employees, and is capable to support both Chinese companies in Switzerland and Swiss companies in China.
Biotech ecosystem in Greater Zurich is attractive
Stella Gu points out: “The Greater Zurich Area is without a doubt a leading biotech hub and is very attractive as a European location.” She goes on to add that for Chinese companies, it is not just the strategic position between important European markets that is decisive; the expert states that many parties want to share in the living ecosystem. The fact that research and development is of primary importance there and the scene generates and attracts an impressive amount of highly qualified and skilled professionals, is particularly attractive to Chinese parties according to the expert.
Furthermore, she adds that an exceptionally wide range of biotech subjects are being addressed, such as in the areas of rare diseases or oncology. “Pharmaceutical products make up a third of Swiss exports – that is impressive. We also see it as our role to bring together parties from the two regions and encourage synergies,” she explains.
Cooperation brings many opportunities
William Robert Keller, Member of the Executive Board of Tigermed Swiss, who was in a leading position at the pharmaceutical giant Roche among other things, has supported China’s development over recent decades. He states: “The possibilities for collaboration are huge: Chinese companies are linking up the location’s world-class research and the considerable international network – Swiss companies find prestigious, innovative partners in China that meet all standards and open up doors to Asian markets.” He adds that this is particularly true of startups or other small and medium-sized enterprises.
He advises all interested companies to take their time: “Before choosing a location or a collaboration partner, discussions should be held with as many experts as possible.” According to Keller, Chinese companies can build on the fact that organizations such as Greater Zurich Area AG will proactively help them to find their feet. Additionally, they are certain to receive unbureaucratic, pragmatic support from the authorities.
Greater Zurich is a strategically important location
Stella Gu attests that the location of Zug in Greater Zurich is particularly important to Tigermed. At present, the responsibilities of her team include financial questions and business development for the European market, for example. She says: “As a CRO we are permanently striving to optimize our research processes. For this reason, we are keeping our eyes open precisely in Greater Zurich with regard to collaborations with exciting companies.”
By Yvonne von Hunnius