SUISSE news Fall 2021
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September 2021

Business News (October 2021)



Switzerland among best in the world for digital transformation
More and more Chinese pharmaceutical companies are choosing the Basel Area as location for their subsidiary in Switzerland. Among them is Hengrui Medicine, Asia's largest pharmaceutical group by market capitalization. The other heavyweight, BeiGene, operates in Europe’s prime life sciences location already since 2018. The Basel Area is visibly developing into the Swiss hotspot for Chinese pharmaceutical companies.

Until now Hengrui Medicine is not very broadly known outside of Asia, but the company has grown steadily over the last years. With the Chinese market growing rapidly this is going to change. According to an analysis of Visual Capitalist, Hengrui Medicine is by now the largest pharmaceutical company in Asia by market capitalization.

Hengrui Medicine was established in 1970, the company ranks now top 30 worldwide in pharmaceuticals industry by a market capitalization of over 58 billion USD, and is home to more than 25,000 employees worldwide. The company leads the Chinese markets for anti-cancer drugs, surgical anesthetics, specialized infusions, and contrast agents.

The pharma centers of Basel and India are influencing each other
Basel has long been one of the world’s most important locations within the pharmaceutical industry. But pharma firms are now starting to play an even bigger role in India as well. Both locations are influencing each other, as shown by the recently ended BioAsia event.

Large Indian pharma companies are currently focusing on generics and biosimilars in particular, while Basel-based firms such as Novartis and Roche carry out large-scale research projects, as detailed in a guest article on swissinfo.ch by Anke Hollnagel, Director Asia of the local business promotion organization Basel Areal Business & Innovation. However, there are also parallels and mutually beneficial influences between the two locations.

In this way, four startups based in Basel – namely Cellestia, Bottmedical, Artidis und Noul – presented their businesses within the framework of the BioAsia India event, which was held in Hyderabad on February 17-20, 2020. The Swiss delegation came at the initiative of Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), a Swiss foreign trade promotion organization. The delegation also included representatives from BaselArea.swiss, which promoted the economic area of Basel at the event.

Switzerland remains a global innovation leader
Switzerland has once again topped the Global Innovation Index for this year. In so doing, the world intellectual property organization has determined that no coronavirus-related slump has been observed in relation to financing innovation.

Switzerland has successfully defended top spot in the Global Innovation Index, further details of which can be found in a press release issued by Wipo, the World Intellectual Property Organization. As was the case in the previous year, the places immediately behind Switzerland are again occupied by Sweden, the USA and the UK. Having previously taken 10th place, South Korea has risen five places to claim 5th spot. However, Germany fell one place to 10th in this year’s rankings, although France (12th up to 11th) and Austria (19th up to 18th) both recorded an improvement of one place respectively. 

 
Sectoral variations
Despite the coronavirus crisis, global innovation investments have proved to be highly resilient, Wipo writes in the press release. However, industry-related differences have been observed over the past year. In this respect, companies operating in the fields of IT and electronics as well as pharma and biotechnology firms have scaled-up their investment activities, while companies from sectors including tourism have evidently been impacted by the crisis to a greater extent.

Switzerland boasts huge number of patents
Switzerland topped not only the overall rankings but also the assessment for Europe and high-income countries. In the overall rankings, Switzerland took top spot for the eleventh year in succession, with this excellent record primarily attributable to the country’s huge number of patents. In the Knowledge and Technology Output category, Switzerland is again ranked first on a global basis in addition to taking second place for both the Creative Output and Infrastructure categories. However, in terms of Institutions, Switzerland ranks down in 13th place. In the current edition of the index, Switzerland’s strengths are noted in particular as its political framework conditions, the use of IT applications and knowledge creation. For the latter two categories here, Switzerland is again ranked first globally.

This year, Wipo produced the fourteenth edition of the Global Innovation Index in conjunction with the Portulans Institute and several other partners. For this, more than 130 countries around the world are evaluated in a process that takes into account data related to just over 80 indicators.


T3 Pharma wins Swiss Economic Award
T3 Pharma has won the Swiss Economic Award 2021. Switzerland’s most prestigious young entrepreneur prize is awarded by the Swiss Economic Forum. T3 Pharma has been presented with this award for its cancer therapy based on living bacteria.

The Basel-based biotechnology firm T3 Pharmaceuticals has won the Swiss Economic Award 2021, which is organized by the Swiss Economic Forum. It is regarded as the most prestigious young entrepreneur prize in Switzerland. The spin-off from the University of Basel beat off competition from 107 applicants to emerge victorious in the hightech/biotech category. The award comes with prize money of 25,000 Swiss francs.

Founded in 2015, the start-up is active in the area of immuno-oncology, with a focus on the development of a cancer therapy based on living bacteria. T3 Pharma was honored for its innovative approach and outstanding entrepreneurial achievements, according to a press release issued by the University of Basel. The winners receive access to the founder network of the Swiss Economic Forum, among other benefits.

The biotech company's approach is based on the Type-3 secretion system, via which bacteria can smuggle proteins directly into human cells. According to the information in the press release, T3 Pharma has developed an innovative technology based on this mechanism: the company has successfully optimized the bacteria to accumulate selectively in solid tumors, where they then release therapeutic proteins that directly or indirectly inhibit cancer growth. Clinical trials for the company’s lead product are due to get underway this year.
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