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René P. Buholzer: “The Basel Area is steaming ahead of the international competition”

14 October 2022

Switzerland’s research-based pharmaceutical companies are a success story, says René P. Buholzer. The Managing Director of Interpharma explains why certain regions like the Basel Area stand out from the crowd.

Mr. Buholzer, what’s the mission of Interpharma?

Interpharma is the association of research-based pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland. We are a driving force for an efficient and high-quality healthcare system that offers patients rapid access to innovative therapies and the best possible treatment.

We advocate in Switzerland and abroad for framework conditions that provide patients with first-class healthcare, reward innovation and allow our industry to make a significant contribution to prosperity, growth, and competitiveness in Switzerland.

We also monitor the pharma market closely and publish our findings, e.g. in the Health Panorama 2022. With our reports on the Pharmaceutical Hub Switzerland, we focus on the different Swiss regions, also on the Basel Area.

Can you share some of the findings from the report about the Basel Area?

The region of Basel stands out in some aspects: no other life sciences hub in the world is growing as rapidly. The recorded growth is 9.3 percent per year in the period from 2010 to 2020. Regarding productivity, the Basel Area is steaming ahead of the international competition, and far ahead of other leading locations such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Øresund, Singapore, Boston, London, Paris and Munich. One more aspect: The universities in the Basel cluster perform well. They score 105 points on the BAK Higher Education Index, 5 percent above the average for regions in Western Europe and the United States. The quality of local research institutions is highly relevant to a region‘s ability to innovate.

Sounds like life sciences companies can build on solid ground in the Basel Area.

Switzerland and its research-based pharmaceutical companies are a success story. The attractive environment that the country offers and the innovativeness of its pharmaceutical industry have been drivers of its prosperity and quality of life for decades.

The numerous companies based in the Basel region cover the entire value chain of the pharmaceutical industry – from research and development to production and marketing. In 2020, the Basel pharmaceutical industry generated nominal value added of CHF 24.7 billion. Around two-thirds of Switzerland‘s total pharmaceutical value added stems from the Basel region.

What’s the reason for this development?

The favourable framework conditions in Basel are an important reason for the region‘s high attractiveness for life sciences companies. The research location Basel benefits from the high-class educational and research institutions in the region as well as the availability of highly qualified specialists. The Basel Area flourishes as a Swiss hub of ideas, culture and economic success. Access to knowledge, highly qualified and international talents and a supportive government have turned the Basel Area into the leading innovation hub of Switzerland and the strongest pharma cluster in Switzerland. Learn more about recruiting in Switzerland.

Does the location at the border with France and Germany help or hinder the development of the Basel Area cluster?

It definitively helps: The favourable framework conditions in Basel are an important reason for the region‘s high attractiveness for life sciences companies. The research location Basel benefits from the high-class educational and research institutions in the whole region as well as the availability of highly qualified specialists.

The proximity to Germany and France, to the international airport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg as well as to the Swiss Rhine ports allows excellent access to all major transport routes.

Founded in 1933, Interpharma as an association based in Basel, Switzerland. Interpharma has developed into the leading organization of research-based pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland, representing more than 95% of the patent protected market.

The broad support throughout Switzerland strengthens Interpharma’s position in promoting the international competitiveness of Switzerland as a research and pharmaceutical location. Interpharma works closely with all stakeholders in the Swiss healthcare system and with international organizations, in particular with the representatives of the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland and abroad.

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