Over 150 senior executives from the Swiss biotech industry met at the Swiss Biotech Day Fall in late September to focus on lessons learnt from the race to innovate and to take a fresh look on product portfolio and financial exposure.
The meeting was held at Biopôle in Lausanne and aligned with EuropaBIO’s “European Biotech Week”, providing valuable inputs on how the industry hedges its bets in terms of product portfolio and financial exposure.
The fast-paced half-day program organized by the Swiss Biotech Association was accompanied by an overview of the biotech industry, which continues to invest record amounts of capital into research and development. Swiss start-ups are making headway too; for the first time, the sector attracted more than one and a half billion Swiss francs in venture capital in 2017.
Dr. Francesco De Rubertis, Founding Partner at Medicxi discussed the venture capital firm’s “asset centric model” and reassured the audience that it is people before science that make an asset great, with some 70 percent of Medicxi investments being European. Basel-based Roivant raised 1.7 billion Swiss francs in just two financing rounds and creates value in biotech by establishing separate entities or “Vants”. Sascha Bucher, Head of Roivant Global Transactions, explained that such Vants are small entrepreneurial biotech companies which help drive efficiency in R&D and commercialization.
As ObsEva’s CEO, Dr. Ernest Loumaye, explained in his talk on hybrid growth strategy, there are clear regulatory benefits for Swiss biotechs in a dual stock exchange listing. The discussion showed that a Swiss incorporated company listed on a foreign exchange may be vulnerable to unsolicited takeovers. ObsEva mitigated this risk by listing its equity on the Swiss stock exchange in addition to the NASDAQ, thus benefiting from the Swiss takeover regime.
The Swiss Biotech Day Fall closed with the presentation by Marcus Kracht, CFO and Deputy CEO at Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma. The joint venture company is a 2018 laureate of the recently launched Swiss Biotech Success Stories campaign and was created by Vifor Pharma and the medtech company Fresenius. This vertical integration between a pharmaceutical and medical device company created a powerful distribution platform for dialysis patients and enabled Vifor Pharma to become a global leader in nephrology.