Swiss Biotech Sector Stimulates Growth

  • (c) Leonid Andronov /Alamy Stock Photo(c) Leonid Andronov /Alamy Stock Photo

For many years, Switzerland has held the top spot in the World Economic Forum (WEF) competitiveness index. Compared to other countries, Switzerland maintains relatively high levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In 2016, FDI in Switzerland amounted to $ 750 billion, according to Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), the Swiss promotion agency. From a historical perspective, the importance of foreign investment is clear, with Swiss capital invested abroad almost triple what it was in 2000.

One reason why Switzerland has become a special place for business and innovation is that it offers good framework conditions for complex industries. A fine balance between tradition and highly innovative approaches is required to support established products and bring new ones to the market. This holds true for industries such as the chemical, pharmaceutical or the highly specialized flavor and fragrance sector, in which Swiss companies occupy a world leadership role, according to Dr. Jan Lucht, spokesperson for biotech at Scienceindustries, the Swiss business association Chemistry Pharma Biotech. For the sector, biotechnology plays an increasingly important role, as it does for the chemistry, healthcare and life sciences sector in general.

Over the past two decades, the biotech industry in Switzerland has matured into an established business with numerous commercial products generating high returns on investment. In parallel, novel technologies, new players and additional fields of application have continued to increase overall diversity. All along, patents have been instrumental in protecting products and encouraging investment in this high-risk/high-potential industry. Consequently, the patent landscape for biotechnology has become large and complex. According to the Swiss Biotech Report 2017, Switzerland provides a fertile ground for new ideas – in no other country are newly developed technologies and inventions better protected than in Switzerland.

Success Through Diversity

Switzerland’s success in biotechnology relies on the diversity of its knowledge networks in research, industry, finance and industry development.

These days, diversity is considered a major driver of innovation and Switzerland regularly occupies top rankings in global innovation. It has been proven that diverse teams perform better and are more innovative than others. The Swiss have developed an economic and social system that is built on the four pillars of innovation, technology, security and trust; thus creating a national spirit that embraces diversity to deliver innovation, performance and quality.

Hence, it is probably no coincidence that Switzerland is a place where the leaders from the flavor and fragrance sector can thrive. The comprehensive education system provides a motivated workforce at different qualification levels. Publicly funded education and research institutions are well equipped, internationally connected, and draw top scientists from all over the world.

The research landscape stretches from academia, through innovative start-ups and SMEs, and on to large, multinational companies with their global resources. Efficient knowledge and technology transfer between basic and applied research and industrial applications further stimulates innovation. And since 2013 the National Thematic Network (NTN) Swiss Biotech, led by Biotechnet Switzerland and the Swiss Biotech Association, has made it a goal to foster transfer activities in biotechnology.

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