Federal investment and regulatory benefits draw biotech firms to Switzerland


The country is home to 20% of biotechs headquartered in Europe.

An airport arrivals screen shows a flight to Geneva boarding. Image credit: ©WD Stockphotos – stock.adobe.com

Switzerland hosts the headquarters for many new biotech companies. Image credit: ©WD Stockphotos – stock.adobe.com

Regulatory benefits and financial incentives have made Switzerland an appealing location for European biotech firms. A report by IQVIA indicates the country is becoming a hub for companies in the region.1 The 2023 Swiss Biotech Report noted that 20% of European biotech companies call the country home. The biotech sector also comprises a significant percentage of new companies in Switzerland. Out of 265 companies newly headquartered there last year, 63 were in the biotech space.

Jörg Schläpfer, director of Management Services and International Affairs at Swissmedic, said the agency’s high approval rates were partially to thank for the influx of new companies.2 “Through collaborations with international partners, we facilitate controlled and rapid global access to promising products for drug developers,” Schläpfer said.

He added that the ability to commercialise these therapies without large pharma support ensures “patients can benefit as quickly as possible from innovative therapies which are safe and of high quality.”

Switzerland’s infrastructure plays a large part in drawing non-European companies to cities like Basel, Geneva, Zurich and Lucerne. Along with regulatory benefits, federal investment incentivises global biotech firms to establish headquarters in Switzerland. Of the new companies that settled in Switzerland last year, 23 were US-based, indicating broad international appeal. Experts at IQVIA said the trend is projected to continue.

Isma Hachi, director of Emerging Biopharma, IQVIA, commented on these factors as revealed by the firm’s research.2 “Many biotechs based outside Europe choose Switzerland for setting up their European HQ, driven by a business-friendly environment and a deep talent pool,” Hachi said. “Our research shows +25% higher rate of availability in European markets for medicines, developed by Swiss-based biotech companies versus average, biotech launches in the past five years.”


1. Emerging Biopharma’s Contribution to Innovation. IQVIA Report. Published June 13, 2022. Accessed May 30, 2023.
2. Latest research shows 20% of European biotechs now headquartered in Switzerland. News release. RHA Communications, May 23, 2023. https://www.swissbiotech.org/listing/swiss-biotech-report-2023-shows-sector-weathers-global-disruption-well-and-continues-to-play-a-leading-role-driving-global-healthcare-innovation/
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