Swiss biotech CEO follow-up survey

To strengthen the Swiss biotech industry’s arguments and negotiation position towards the  State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO), please participate in this survey for the Swiss biotech industry for actual data and your personal assessment of the current situation.

This will help us to provide a credible overview of the situation to the federal and cantonal authorities. You can participate anonymously. If you wish to do so, do not provide your name, e-mail address or company name.

The background

We are aware that the majority of the Swiss biotech companies are confronted with significant delays in their R&D projects due to the Covid pandemic. Consequently, many companies have reached out to the Swiss Biotech Association and federal and regional authorities to emphasize the need for emergency loans to gain time to complete planned financing rounds and finalize the delayed R&D projects.

While a number of companies have been able to successfully close financing rounds in Q2, 2020 (mostly based on data generated prior to the pandemic), we see clear signs that in Q3 and Q4 the effects of the pandemic will become more apparent. Hence, we continue to emphasize that R&D companies without significant revenues remain cut off from emergency loans in Switzerland. While the joint federal/cantonal program for startups might provide a solution in some cases, the initial observations point to a slow approval process, and many companies do not qualify for fundamental reasons.

So far, the SECO has not been supportive of extending the emergency loan to R&D companies without revenues.

The authorities’ arguments:

  • Q1 and Q2 data suggest that the financing of Swiss biotech companies continues to work well
  • there is no interest to develop sector-specific solutions for capacity reasons, but also to avoid that some industries benefit more than others
  • it is not the task of the government to bail out private investors/VCs

We recognize that these arguments do not take into account the financing environment in Q3/Q4, which is likely going to be more challenging, as more companies enter into re-financing discussions without the expected results at hand due to the pandemic.

Also, the issue is not specific to biotech, as other R&D-oriented industries face the same challenges. And last but not least, the companies will not wait until they are running out of cash, but rather take measures to reduce the burn rate, which tend to weaken the innovation power and delay projects even further.

Please reply no later than August 28, 2020

If you wish to participate anonymously in the survey, do not provide your name, e-mail address or company name

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