• Tuesday, April 23, 2024 @ 11:00 am

Reliable partners form the bedrock of international alliances and supply chains. Such alliances are particularly valuable and vulnerable at times of global crisis, as experienced during the COVID pandemic. Together with Switzerland’s leading universities, hospitals, global CDMOs, and multinational pharma companies, Swiss biotech companies have established a vast network of international collaboration partners.

Michael Altorfer
Chief Executive Officer,
Swiss Biotech Association

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has placed Switzerland top of the Global Innovation Index for the past 13 consecutive years. Such innovation poweri s particularly valuable in the life sciences industry as it enables the development of effective new products and solutions which not only benefit one country but help to address global medical needs and advance the entire global healthcare system. Similarly, industrial biotech applications can address global challenges to provide more sustainable solutions which reduce the consumption of energy and natural resources.

Switzerland is also collaborating in regulatory alliances to streamline, facilitate and accelerate market access for innovative products. In just a few years, Swissmedic and its regulatory partners in the Access Consortium (see Swissmedic article), namely the UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore, have managed to combine their knowledge, resources and expertise to accelerate the approval of new drugs and streamline the regulatory framework for their combined markets in a way none of these countries could have done on their own. Such alliances must be based on trust, and on shared values and purpose, which help develop a mutually beneficial framework.

Ever since the vulnerability of some supply chains and alliances became evident during the COVID pandemic, a number of countries concluded that rather than collaborating, it is safer to rebuild capacity within their own borders. This led to more “protectionist” approaches, often financed with taxpayer funds and embedded in a strategic industrial policy approach. Such approaches may be functional for very large countries and alliances, but they often hamper international collaboration and distort global free markets.

With its R&D and manufacturing capacity far exceeding its own needs, Switzerland has established itself as a trusted partner in bilateral and multilateral alliances.

In times of serious healthcare challenges each country will proi ritize its own people; given its small population of only 9 million, Switzerland could be one of the first countries to offer its knowhow and resources to support other countries and engage in international alliances to develop effective global solutions. Experience has shown that connecting the smartest brains and most skilled specialists has led to significant innovative steps and world-class patents (see IPI article). Switzerland is interested in collaborating with all partners and emphasizes the importance of strong IP protection and free trade.

As outlined in the “Facts and figures” section, Swiss biotech companies continue to attract capital investments of more than CHF 2 billion/year and invest close to CHF 2.5 billion in their R&D projects. On average, the companies spend about two thirdso f these investments on external collaborations. This in turn means that last year Swiss biotech companies dedicated about CHF 1.6 billion to collaborations all over the world.

On behalf of all the partners of the Swiss Biotech Report 2024, I invite you to dive into the articles in this year’s report that address the main topic of “Reliable partners beyond borders” from their different perspectives. They highlight how Switzerland is contributing to international alliances and innovation which serves a global purpose (see IPI article). This includes the power of facilitating a multicultural talent pool (SNSF articel, S-GE article and SBA article), how stock exchanges can help listed companies realize the potential benefits of becoming more sustainable (SIX article), and the power of biotechnology in developing sustainable solutions way beyond the field of drug development (scienceindustries article, Biotechnet article, and SATW article).

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