Greater Zurich Area AG and Swiss Biotech See Solid Swiss Biotech Growth, Announce New Life Sciences Initiative and Booklet

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Switzerland’s biotech sector enjoyed healthy growth in 2007, according to the latest annual report of Swiss Biotech, the biotech consortium of Switzerland.

It is remarkable that relatively small young companies, which only have some preclinical products so far, achieved some of the larger financing rounds

Switzerland’s biotech sector enjoyed healthy growth in 2007, according to the latest annual report of Swiss Biotech, the biotech consortium of Switzerland. In addition, the Greater Zurich Area AG has published “Life Science Zurich” a comprehensive guide to the life sciences sector in the Greater Zurich Area, a thriving location for R&D, investing and business in Swiss biotech and life sciences.

During the run-up for the BIO 2008 in San Diego, Swiss Biotech, the national biotech consortium of Switzerland, has released its annual report. The Swiss Biotech Report 2008 gathers the key economic data of the Swiss biotechnology industry for the year 2007. Market indicators point to double-digit growth in many key areas and suggest that Switzerland has expanded its role and reputation as a hotbed for biotech and life sciences.

Swiss Biotech represents currently 220 Swiss biotech companies, divided into 148 biotech developers and 72 biotech suppliers (multinational pharma companies and their subsidiaries are not counted).

In the wake of Swiss market leaders such as Roche and Novartis, core biotech business activities predominantly take place in red biotechnology, i.e. human and veterinary medicine.

White (environmental and industry processes) and green biotech (agriculture and food) have great upward potential. A point in case is the recent opening of EMEA headquarters by food, cleaning and health product and service provider Ecolab Inc. in the Greater Zurich Area.

Swiss biotech industry results
Key figures of the Swiss biotech industry in 2007 include:

  • Industry turnover increased by 10.8% in 2007, to CHF 7,116 million (2006: CHF 6,424 million).
  • Number of Swiss biotech employees increased by 10% across the industry.
  • R&D investment by private and listed companies increased by 6%, to CHF 1’696 million (2006: CHF 1,600 million).
  • Investments by new investors increased by 13.5%, to CHF 885 million (2006: CHF 780 million).
  • Private equity increased by nearly 10% to 246 million (2006: CHF 224 million).
  • SWX Swiss Exchange saw a CHF 137 million IPO by Addex Pharmaceuticals (the biggest in Europe in 2007) that made for a successful year at SXI LIFE SCIENCES® and SXI Bio+Medtech indices (despite the acquisition of Swiss Serono by industry leader Merck).

Investment across the board, full product pipelines
Investments in Swiss biotech are not limited to big companies in European pharma. “It is remarkable that relatively small young companies, which only have some preclinical products so far, achieved some of the larger financing rounds", states Dr med Yvonne Gunsch-Wegmann, Head of Issuer & Investor Relations, SWX Swiss Exchange.

R&D investments are yielding positive results on the product side. “There are more than enough products in the pipeline and the sector can look to the future with confidence”, said Jürg Zürcher, partner and biotechnology leader for Central Europe with Ernst & Young.

Life Science Zurich booklet launched
The optimistic outlook is a consequence of Switzerland’s commitment to excellent infrastructure for top-notch R&D. Due to a high density of academic, engineering and corporate institutions as well as high levels of public and private funding, researchers and entrepreneurs see great opportunities when it comes to biotech in Switzerland.

A prime example is the Greater Zurich Area, home to the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, two pre-eminent universities of continental Europe. Here, basic biotech research is complemented by a plethora of interdisciplinary knowledge in life sciences and generated in research projects, think tanks, and competence centers. Relationships between scientific and business expertise are facilitated and enhanced through dedicated technology transfer offices such as Unitectra and business promotions such as the “Life Science Zurich” initiative.

To provide a comprehensive overview about the life sciences and biotech niche in this powerful Swiss economic region, the Greater Zurich Area AG has published the compendium “Life Science Zurich”. Issues will be available at the BIO 2008 in San Diego through the Greater Zurich Area AG.

About Swiss Biotech
The Swiss Biotech label was created in order to bolster the Swiss biotech scene at home and abroad and to ensure a uniform image. Swiss Biotech is a consortium of the Swiss biotech regions Bioalps, Biopolo, BaselArea and the Greater Zurich Area. Further members of this marketing alliance are SWX Swiss Exchange, the Swiss Biotech Association and the Medical Cluster.

About the Greater Zurich Area AG
The Greater Zurich Area AG, a nonprofit organization, is the marketing association for the Greater Zurich Area business region. It recruits international companies abroad and assists them with setting up companies and making investments in the Greater Zurich Area. Its sponsor is the “Stiftung Greater Zurich Area Standortmarketing,” a public-private partnership that was established in November 1998. Since that time, its membership has grown to include the cantons of Aargau, Glarus, Graubünden, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn and Zürich, the cities of Zürich and Winterthur, and several businesses.

Swiss Biotech and the Greater Zurich Area AG at the BIO 2008
Swiss Biotech and the Greater Zurich Area AG are located at the Swiss Pavilion in booth no. 3745. Join us to learn more about the renowned research institutions, scientific talent, investment opportunities and professional services that distinguish Switzerland’s Biotech Industry.

For further information, to order the Swiss Biotech Report 2008 and Life Science Zurich booklet, please contact:

Lukas Huber, Director Life Sciences and VP Swiss Biotech,
Greater Zurich Area AG
Limmatquai 112, 8001 Zürich / Switzerland
Phone +41 44 254 59 08

Marc Neumann, International Media Relations,
Greater Zurich Area AG, New York
Phone +1 917 330 9476


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Greater Zurich Area AG, New York
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