Apellis Pharmaceuticals is an American biotech company that has established a hub in the Greater Zurich Area for all its non-US activities since the beginning of 2019. Apellis currently has more than 750 employees, including those at its headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts. Over 30 highly experienced pharma experts are employed by Apellis Switzerland GmbH in Zug.

Apellis was founded in 2009 and focuses on developing and commercializing therapeutic active ingredients. The company is a pioneer in the field of complement system inhibitor therapies. Apellis received its first drug approval in 2021 and expects to receive a second approval in 2022.

Watch the video with Cedric Francois and learn why he chose Greater Zurich as a business location. Video production: Puresive Films

The drug, which contains the active ingredient pegcetacoplan, is being marketed in the US under the name Empaveli. Outside of the US, it is sold as Aspaveli by the Swedish partner company Sobi. It has received approval as the first targeted therapy for the rare blood disease paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). For Empaveli alone, Apellis recorded net product sales of 15.7 million US dollars in the second quarter of 2022. The new application for pegcetacoplan awaiting approval is for intravitreal use as a therapeutic option for patients with geographic atrophy. This is one of the main causes of blindness in the Western world.

In Greater Zurich, all the elements are available to establish a hub for global expansion.
Cedric Francois - CEO and Co-Founder of Apellis Pharmaceuticals

Greater Zurich – ideal base for international expansion

According to Co-Founder and CEO Cedric Francois, the location in Greater Zurich is vital to the company’s further development. This is why quality was a key focus during the extensive selection and decision-making process. Cedric Francois comments: “When I say that Switzerland is synonymous with quality, it is not an overstatement as we have experienced it.” He believes that the Greater Zurich Area is a “fabulous” location for recruiting the best specialists, “where all the elements are available to establish a hub for global expansion.”

He mentions the local biotech ecosystem with its networking opportunities as another upside to the location, adding: “Greater Zurich and Switzerland as a whole are home to many important large companies as well as small and medium enterprises that could be potential partners in the future.” An example of this is a collaboration with the Swiss pharma manufacturer Bachem.

On the subject of settling in the area, Cedric Francois states: “We received excellent support from representatives from the canton of Zug and the Greater Zurich Area Ltd in setting up our operations here. They were extremely helpful, very well organized, and kept things straightforward.”

The Greater Zurich Area is a fabulous place to recruit talent.
Cedric Francois - CEO and Co-Founder of Apellis Pharmaceuticals

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