Swiss biomanufacturing revived in 2019 says industry group

Swiss biomanufacturing had a “resurgence” in 2019 according to an industry group which cited plant investments by drug firms and CDMOs as growth drivers.

The Swiss Biotech Association – which represents biopharmaceutical companies, biotech and the services sector – made the comments in a recently published report.

It wrote that, “Switzerland’s manufacturing prowess has experienced a revival in 2019, following years of “exporting” manufacturing capabilities aboard.”

Image: iStock/MarianVejcik

The organization highlighted Biogen’s decision to invest CHF 1 billion ($1 billion) in a monoclonal antibody development manufacturing facility in Luterbach in Solothurn canton as an example.

The site – which various reports will create 600 jobs – was commissioned last year and is due to be operational at the end of 2020.

The association also said that CSL Behring’s announcement that it would expand its immunoglobulin production facility in Bern as a positive sign.

Likewise, the opening of Novartis’ cell and gene therapy development and production laboratory in Stein is an indication of renewed biopharmaceutical industry interest in manufacturing in Switzerland according to the authors.

According to a statement issued by Novartis in November “In addition to manufacturing areas for novel CAR-T cell therapies, the new building also hosts the production of innovative, difficult-to-manufacture solid dosage forms such as tablets and capsules.”

The firm added, “In September 2019, the first clinical production of a cell and gene therapy batch was successfully completed.”

The Swiss Biotech Association also highlighted German drug firm Merck’s announcement it would spend $275 million investment on a new biotech development centre in Vevey.

The facility will be responsible for advancing Merck’s biotech R&D pipeline and supplying clinical trials.

At the time Merck said, “This investment will help to sustainably secure capacity and high agility to deliver clinical trial material in a cost-effective way, contribute to accelerated development timelines of new biological entities, and address the increasing manufacturing complexity of the next generations of biotech compounds.”

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