A powerful biotech ecosystem

Biotech dna

Switzerland is one of the best and most innovative locations for biotechnology. Here’s why.

It’s well known that Switzerland has great chocolate, precision watchmaking and a high quality of life. But did you know that the country is also a global powerhouse in biotechnology research and development (R&D)? At the core of Switzerland's biotech success is a close-knit network between R&D, driven by renowned universities, highly-specialised SMEs and strong multinational corporations.

Several world-class universities and research institutions, such as ETH Zurich and the University of Basel, are at the forefront of life sciences research but also play a crucial role in nurturing a skilled workforce, essential for the biotech industry's growth and innovation.

Ecosystem built for innovation

Switzerland's biotech ecosystem is designed to foster innovation through incubators, science parks, and a culture that encourages the commercialisation of new technologies. According to the 2023 Swiss Biotech report, the Swiss biotech industry reached a record-breaking revenue of CHF 6.8 billion in 2022 as well as unprecedented R&D investments amounting to CHF 2.7 billion. More than 19,000 FTEs are working in almost 300 companies active in the R&D sector for biotechnology solutions.

A European hub

Thanks to its central location, modern infrastructure, business-friendly environment and highly skilled workforce, at the end of 2022 twenty per cent of all European biotech companies had set up head offices in Switzerland, according to the 2023 Swiss Biotech report.

Biotech clusters fostering innovation

Key biotech clusters include the BioValley in Basel, the Biopôle in Lausanne and the Bio-Technopark Zurich, each fostering innovation in their respective fields. These clusters are vital in supporting the industry’s growth and maintaining Switzerland’s position as a leading biotech hub​​. And it should come as no surprise that the Global Innovation Index’s top spot has been held by the same country for 13 consecutive years.

Strong backing for biotech ventures

The presence of a well-developed financial sector willing to back biotech ventures with venture capital, paired with global life sciences champions such as Novartis and Roche, is another key driver of Switzerland's biotech R&D success. In 2023, the Swiss biotech industry was able to raise venture capital investment to the tune of CHF 488 million, a twenty per cent growth compared to 2022 according to the 2024 Swiss Venture Capital Report. This financial backing is crucial for the nurturing of start-ups and the expansion of established companies. Some of the most successful financial rounds in the past years include:

Swiss Biotech Report 2023