Biotechnology Switzerland

An Expert's View about Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland

Posted on: 4 Oct 2010

The main focus of both the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in Switzerland is on human life sciences, with residual activity in agrochemical and industrial biotechnology.

Biopharma ? Switzerland Sector Report Biotechnology Switzerland Produced by: Michael Tomsett, Senior Project Manager, Inward Investment UK Trade & Investment British Embassy Berne, Switzerland Last revised August 2009 Whereas every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this document is accurate, neither UK Trade & Investment nor its parent Departments (the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), accept liability for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, and no warranty is given or responsibility accepted as to the standing of any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. Published August 2009 by UK Trade & Investment. Crown Copyright © Biopharma ? Switzerland Table of Contents OVERVIEW 3 OPPORTUNITIES 4 CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET 5 KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS 5 MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS 5 PUBLICATIONS 5 EVENTS 6 CONTACT LISTS 7 SOURCES 8 Page 2 of 8 Biopharma ? Switzerland OVERVIEW Switzerland has a population of 7.5 million, has the second-most competitive economy in the (1) world and is the most competitive economy in Europe . Switzerland maintains a leading position in the global pharmaceutical and biotech industries. The city of Basle is a European centre of ?big pharma?, and the country?s strong biotech industry is nearing maturity. Switzerland is an advanced pharmaceutical market. Per-capita expenditure on drugs is among the highest in the world. Consumption centres around patented pharmaceuticals, with Switzerland providing a ready market for cutting-edge therapies. Meanwhile, high levels of out- of-pocket expenditure have resulted in the development of a mature and competitive consumer (2) health sector . Major global pharmaceutical companies Roche and Novartis are headquartered in Basle. Mid- sized companies such as Merck-Serono and Actelion are backed up by a ?long tail? of small-to- medium sized enterprises. Revenue from pharmaceuticals in 2007 amounted to CHF 95bn (approx. £55bn). Swiss pharmaceutical companies? spending on research and development is (3) high, with 22% of revenue being re-invested in R&D . The Swiss biotechnology industry has an annual turnover of over CHF 8bn (approximately £4.7bn) and employs nearly 17,000 people, more than a third of the European industry total. Swiss biotech company revenues account for 40% of the European total. In 2007 Switzerland counted 220 companies, the highest density per capita worldwide. Of this total, 70% are biotech developers and the remainder supply the core industry. The majority of Swiss biotechs were founded before 2001. Ernst & Young state that despite the financial crisis, Swiss biotech is (4) booming. The main focus of both the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in Switzerland is on human life sciences, with residual activity in agrochemical and industrial biotechnology. Switzerland offers world-leading standards of technology transfer between higher education institutions and industry, facilitating innovation, high quality and sustainable growth. More than 300 research groups at universities and institutions underpin industry, and a range of government programmes are in place to maintain these efficiencies. The Swiss Government has identified biotechnology as a key sector for future development. Page 3 of 8 Biopharma ? Switzerland OPPORTUNITIES The Swiss market comprises a spread of company types, ranging from ?big pharma? and other larger-sized biopharma companies to small-to-medium sized companies and start-ups. In general, Swiss companies are open to international partnerships and cooperation. Because of the strengths of indigenous industry, opportunities for British companies are mainly in areas of scientific/technological collaboration, and supply of services: ? Human life sciences are the key focus in Switzerland and as elsewhere, ?big pharma? is continually searching for new compounds and molecules, drug delivery technologies, research technology platforms and latest know-how in drug discovery technology. Interest is rising in the area of nutraceuticals. ? While Switzerland does have a thriving contract research services base, there are opportunities for British contract research organisations to demonstrate competitive advantage in this area. ? There are opportunities for British companies to supply instrumentation, systems and equipment. ? Finance institutions may also find opportunities in Switzerland. While Switzerland is renowned for its indigenous financial institutions and there is a good supply of funding within the Swiss biopharma industry, raising capital this year has not been easy for the Swiss life sciences industry. The relatively high number of start-up companies and the high cashflow ?burn? of biotechnology companies may provide opportunities for British business investors seeking to invest Swiss francs. ? Since the financial crisis, the UK-Swiss (GBP-CHF) exchange rate has been severely affected. The UK industry now combines its traditional high quality with a distinct cost advantage. This impacts on all aspects of life sciences work, though in particular the contract research and supplies businesses will be positively affected. UKTI publishes international business opportunities gathered by our network of British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates worldwide. These opportunities appear in the Opportunities portlet on the relevant sector and country pages on the UKTI website. By setting up a profile you can be alerted by email when relevant new opportunities are published. New or updated alert profiles can be set in My Account on the website. Page 4 of 8 Biopharma ? Switzerland CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET Biotech and pharma enjoy a favourable regulatory and administrative environment in Switzerland. Product registration cycles are short and innovative drugs, biotech products and services enjoy easy access to the markets. Switzerland has good contractual relations with the European Union and in many cases legislation is harmonised. The Swiss Stock Exchange (SWX) is a leading market in Europe and a potential source of funds for biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Swiss companies typically have considerable financial strength and invest significantly in R&D. They are global in their outlook and favourable to international business relationships. KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS The best way to approach biopharma companies in Switzerland is to visit the market for face to face meetings. The British Embassy in Berne is happy to assist British companies make necessary arrangements. Business Culture: Swiss diaries fill up months in advance so make appointments in good time. It is important to be clear about the purpose of any meeting. Most senior businesspeople speak English, especially in biotech and pharma companies, but it is important to check in advance. Punctuality is very important in Switzerland and it is vital to arrive at appointments on time. Normal office hours are 08.00-17.00 and people do take a lunch break. Switzerland is one hour ahead of the UK. Switzerland is not a member of the EU. The national currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF). The current rate of exchange to the British Pound is 1.7 (July 2009), a twenty-year-plus low. Further background information on doing business in Switzerland can be found on UKTI?s website. Simply go to the Swiss country page where you will find further information on Switzerland. MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS Research is critical when considering new markets. UKTI provides market research services which can help UK companies doing business overseas including: ? Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). Bespoke research into potential markets, and support during your visits overseas ? Export Marketing Research Scheme. In-depth and subsidised service administered by the British chambers of Commerce on behalf of UKTI Contact your local International Trade Advisor if you are interested in accessing these services, or for general advice in developing your export strategy. PUBLICATIONS Ernst & Young produce an annual report on the Swiss Biotech Sector. For further information please visit Page 5 of 8 Biopharma ? Switzerland EVENTS Biotech in Europe Investor Forum 14-15 September 2009 Zurich, Switzerland ?Annual European event for investing in biotech, with over 400 investors present.? For more information: th 8 BioValley Life Sciences Week 13-16 October 2008 Basle, Switzerland ?A platform for experts and executives of the economic region, in which strategies and innovations in the domain of Life Sciences can be discussed and debated.? For more information: MipTec 13-15 October 2009 Basle, Switzerland ?Innovative science & technology for drug discovery, highlighting latest breakthroughs.? For more information: NanoBiotech Montreux 16-18 November 2008 Montreux, Switzerland th ?12 annual conference at the frontier of micro and nanotech apps for biosciences.? For more information: European Antibody Congress 30 November-2 December 2009 Geneva, Switzerland ?Europe?s leading antibody conference, a knowledge experience, business meeting and marketplace?. For more information: BioSquare 1-2 February 2010 Geneva, Switzerland ?During the last eight years BioSquare has become the most attended biotech partnering conference in Europe. This two-day event features panels, workshops and company presentations.? Biosquare alternates location annually between Basle, Switzerland, and Lyon, France. For more information: Page 6 of 8 Biopharma ? Switzerland (5) For a more detailed listing of Swiss biopharma events please consult: CONTACT LISTS Useful addresses for Biopharma in Switzerland: BioValley Basle region life sciences cluster organisation BioAlps Lake Geneva region life science cluster organisation BioPolo Ticino Italian-speaking Switzerland?s life sciences cluster organisation Swiss Biotech Association National industry association Swiss Life Sciences Comprehensive Swiss life sciences company database Swiss Group of Chemical Industries National industry association covering the pharmaceutical and chemical industries UK Trade & Investment?s International Trade Advisers can provide you with essential and impartial advice on all aspects of international trade. Every UK region also has dedicated sector specialists who can provide advice tailored to your industry. You can trace your nearest adviser by entering your postcode into the Local Office Database on the homepage of our website. For new and inexperienced exporters, our Passport to Export process will take you through the mechanics of exporting. An International Trade Adviser will provide professional advice on a range of services, including financial subsidies, export documentation, contacts in overseas markets, overseas visits, translating marketing material, e-commerce, subsidised export training and market research. Page 7 of 8 Biopharma ? Switzerland SOURCES (1) World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 (2) Switzerland Pharaceuticals & Healthcare Report 2009, Business Monitor (3) 2007 Industry Overview, SGCI Chemical & Pharma Association Switzerland (4) Swiss Biotech Report 2009, Swiss Biotech Association/Ernst & Young (5) Swiss Biotech Association website Page 8 of 8
Posted: 04 October 2010

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