Founded in 1998, the Swiss Biotech Association represents the interests of the Swiss biotech industry. To support its members in a competitive market, the Swiss Biotech Association works to secure favorable framework conditions and facilitate access to talents, novel technologies and financial resources. To strengthen and promote the Swiss biotech industry, the Swiss Biotech Association collaborates with numerous partners and life science clusters globally under the brand Swiss Biotech™.

Online communities

The Swiss Biotech Association has established its own community for employees of its member companies. The community enables direct exchange between members, features a news section, provides files and information, shows discount codes for events and enables discussions within specific platform topics.

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Drug development

Clinical development and regulatory issues

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Therapeutic biologics, Stem Cells and Advanced Therapies

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Rare diseases and Orphan Medicinal Products

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Antimicrobial Resistance

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Other topics

Industrial biotechnology

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Finance & legal

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International marketing & cooperation

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Learn more about our communities

Drug development

Platform Leaders – Heike Bihlmann and Cathy Kroll

Regulatory issues are of great consequence to academia and industry researchers active in drug discovery and development.

The drug discovery and development process is extremely complex, especially for academics in biotech research as well as for small and medium sized start-ups from academia or spin-offs from industry. The issue is not so much the quality of the research but the knowledge and know-how on the relevant challenges and hurdles throughout the development process as well as an overview on methods and principles.

Platform Leader – Cathy Kroll

A biopharmaceutical, also known as a biologic(al) medical product, biological,or biologic, is any pharmaceutical drug product manufactured in, extracted from, or semisynthesized from biological sources. Different from chemically synthesized pharmaceuticals, they include vaccines, blood, or blood components, allergenics, somatic cells, gene therapies, tissues, recombinant therapeutic protein, and living cells used in cell therapy. Biologics can be composed of sugars, proteins, or nucleic acids or complex combinations of these substances, or may be living cells or tissues. They are isolated from natural sources—human, animal, or microorganism. Source; Wikipedia

Platform Leader – Roland Rutschmann, Curatis

Rare diseases

Rare diseases are diseases which affect a small number of people compared to the general population and specific issues are raised in relation to their rarity. In Europe, a disease is considered to be rare when it affects 1 person per 2000. A disease can be rare in one region, but common in another. There are also many common diseases whose variants are rare.

There are thousands of rare diseases. To date, six to seven thousand rare diseases have been discovered and new diseases are regularly described in medical literature. The number of rare diseases also depends on the degree of specificity used when classifying the different entities/disorders. Until now, in the field of medicine, a disease is defined as an alteration of the state of health, presenting as a unique pattern of symptoms with a single treatment.

Orphan drugs

The so-called ‘orphan drugs’ are intended to treat diseases so rare that sponsors are reluctant to develop them under usual marketing conditions.

The process from the discovery of a new molecule to its marketing is long (10 years in average), expensive (several tens of millions of euros) and very uncertain (among ten molecules tested, only one may have a therapeutic effect). Developing a drug intended to treat a rare disease does not allow the recovery of the capital invested for its research.

Orphan drugs may be defined as : Drugs that are not developed by the pharmaceutical industry for economic reasons but which respond to public health need.
Actually, the indications of a drug may also be considered as ‘ orphan ‘ since a substance may be used in the treatment of a frequent disease but may not have been developed for another, more rare indication.

In fact, three cases may arise:
  • Products intended to treat rare diseases:
    These products are developed to treat patients suffering from very serious diseases for which no treatment, or at least a satisfactory one, has so far been available. These diseases affect only a small proportion of the population (less than one person per 2,000 in Europe), most often at birth or in infancy. The number of rare diseases for which no treatment is currently available is estimated to be between 4,000 and 5,000 world-wide. Twenty-five to 30 million people are reported to be affected by these diseases in Europe.
  • Products withdrawn from the market for economic or therapeutic reasons:
    For example, thalidomide widely much used as a hypnotic drug some years ago and was then withdrawn from the market when its high teratogenic (triggering fetal malformations) risk was discovered. However this drug showed very interesting analgesic proprieties in diseases such as leprosy or lupus erythematosus. They are diseases for which no satisfactory treatment has been available.
  • Products that have not been developed:
    either because they are derived from a research process that cannot be patented, or because they concern important markets which are, however, not creditworthy.

Industrial biotech

Platform Leader – Cathy Kroll

Industrial Biotech covering the know-how and processes for the production of larger scale biotech products are of high importance for the Swiss Biotech sector. In combination with the concept and activities of biobased economy, industrial biotechnology will have a large impact on future production technologies.

The Industrial Biotech Platform gathers interest groups and stakeholder within:

  • ECOBIOFOR: SBA is consortium partner within a EU funded FP7 project. The project ended in December 2016, however, SBA is co-owner of the results and actively looking for exploitation opportunities.
  • Swiss Industrial Biocatalysis Consortium: Industry network applying biocatalysis