The Future of Swiss Healthcare: 10 Up-and-Coming Biopharmas to Watch

Switzerland is uniquely positioned as a global hub for biopharmaceutical innovation, boasting an unmatched concentration of capabilities across the entire value chain—from drug discovery to commercialization. Its strong innovative output combined with low domestic demand necessitates a focus on international collaboration for continued success. Swiss biotechs are ideal partners for accessing cutting-edge innovation and providing a platform for global contributions. Key therapeutic areas under investigation include oncology, neurology, and metabolic diseases, which are major industry growth drivers. Additionally, Switzerland's reputation as a premier manufacturing partner completes the pharmaceutical value chain.

Top 10 Early-Stage Biopharmaceutical Startups in Switzerland:

    1. 1. Limula - Pioneering Personalized Cancer Treatments

      • Headquarters - Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
      • Founders - Luc Henry, Thomas Eaton, Yann Pierson
      • Establishment year - 2020
      • Funding(in USD) - $ 15.2M
      • Investor/s - Verve Ventures, European Innovation Council, Venture Kick, LifeX Ventures, Innosuisse
    2. Limula offers a novel approach to producing personalized cancer treatments. Their technology utilizes a one-of-a-kind platform that automates various cell therapy manufacturing steps within a single device. This platform incorporates end-to-end automation and real-time process analysis, making it suitable for diverse applications in cell therapy, such as those involving T cells, hematopoietic stem cells, and more. Limula's user-friendly solution combines an operating unit, consumables, and software, resulting in an automated platform with an intuitive interface that minimizes manual operation.
    1. 2. Synergy Therapeutics - Transforming cell therapy and specializing in stem cell research for oncology.

      • Headquarters - Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland
      • Founders - Tomas Huber
      • Establishment year - 2019
      • Funding(in USD) - $ 3.9M
      • Investor/s - NA
    2. Synergy Health specializes in cell therapy for oncology. At Synergy Therapeutics, they lead the field in stem cell research for cancer treatment, driven by a dedicated team focused on harnessing this technology for groundbreaking therapies. Inspired by a vision of transforming healthcare through engineered cell therapies, they aim to develop medicines that strike at the heart of disease, significantly improving the lives of patients and their families. Their goal is to ensure these advanced treatments are broadly accessible to those who need them.
    1. 3. Akro swiss - Innovative Nasal Drug Delivery

      • Headquarters - Zug, Zug, Switzerland
      • Founders - Dr. Sc. Nat. John Fröhlich
      • Establishment year - 2007
      • Funding(in USD) - $ 3.3M
      • Investor/s - Linsi, Walter P. Hölzle
    2. Akroswiss is fully dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative nasal applications of midazolam. Akroswiss has successfully developed and tested a unique bi-dose nasal drug delivery device with a first-class 360° functionality which address two unmet clinical needs; efficient treatment of epileptic seizures (rescue medication use) and conscious sedation ahead of diagnostic interventions against claustrophobia and restlessness (anxiolytic use). Relief of anxiety by endonasal administration is a safe, effective route to improve patients’ comfort and image quality without the necessity of an intravenous line.
    1. 4. Flowbone - Enhancing Bone Health through “bone-seeding” gel.

      • Headquarters - Canton Vaud, Switzerland
      • Founders - Dominique Pioletti, Régis Gauderon, Ulrike Kettenberger
      • Establishment year - 2020
      • Funding(in USD) - $ 3.2M
      • Investor/s - Venture Kick, Innosuisse, MassChallenge, Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT), QuickFire Challenge
    2. Flowbone is a spin-off from the Laboratory of Biomechanical Orthopedics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Flowbone envisions a world where the elderly can maintain a high level of independence and quality of life, free from the devastating impact of fragility fractures, particularly for those suffering from osteoporosis. The company offers an innovative solution in the form of an injectable, "bone-seeding" gel designed for quick and subtle local strengthening of fragile bones. Once injected, the gel initiates the deposition of the body's own minerals, rapidly transforming into strong, viable bone.
    1. 5. Bionter - Advanced Particulate Matter Testing

      • Headquarters - Riehen, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland
      • Founders - Tobias Werk
      • Establishment year - 2020
      • Funding(in USD) - $ 3M
      • Investor/s - Dynamk Capital
    2. Bionter leads in advanced particulate matter testing solutions with their innovative EVE technology. Designed to enhance detection and analysis in parenteral drug and ophthalmic solutions, Bionter's solutions offer exceptional accuracy and efficiency in laboratories. Their commitment to improving analytical testing supports health outcomes, focusing on critical sub-visible particle testing essential for patient safety. This testing aids in stability testing, drug formulation, process development, and in-process control (IPC) testing in manufacturing.
    1. 6. EraCal - Combating Obesity with Novel Drugs

      • Headquarters - Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
      • Founders - Josua Jordi, Simon Breitler
      • Establishment year - 2017
      • Funding(in USD) - $ 1.1M
      • Investor/s - redalpine, Venture Kick, Bernina BioInvest, Life Sciences Fund
    2. The biotech-company EraCal Therapeutics Ltd. is a spin-off of the University of Zurich and Harvard University, and develops first-in-class drugs to treat different diseases. We develop the next generation anti-obesity drug. develops novel appetite suppressants to combat obesity. Reducing appetite facilitates blood sugar and lipid control, reduces body weight and liver fat content, and facilitates healthy aging
    1. 7. Renaldee - Innovative Vitamin D Solutions for chronic diseases.

      • Headquarters -Augst, Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland
      • Founders - Heinrich Bachmann, Anna Grabowski(COO)
      • Establishment year - 2021
      • Funding(in USD) - $ 1.1M
      • Investor/s - NA
    2. Renaldee AG is pioneering the introduction of a natural, active Vitamin D product for chronic conditions like chronic kidney disease (CKD) and osteoporosis. The company is developing the first herbal active vitamin D, extracted entirely from the plant Solanum glaucophyllum. Unlike the inactive form of Vitamin D available over the counter, Renaldee’s primary product, Solrena®, contains purified and standardized plant extract with 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3-glycosides. T Unlike common over-the-counter forms, Renaldee’s Solrena® is tailored as a prescription drug, marking a substantial advancement in treating CKD and osteoporosis.
    1. 8. inSEIT - EAI-Driven Enzyme Immobilization

      • Headquarters - Bern, Bern, Switzerland
      • Founders - David Roura Padrosa, Francesca Paradisi, Gordon Honeyman
      • Establishment year - 2021
      • Funding(in USD) - 440K
      • Investor/s - Venture Kick
    2. InSEIT provides end-to-end enzyme immobilization services, using AI-powered tools to manage process risks and accelerate development. Their bioinformatic approach predicts optimal enzyme immobilization strategies, integrating data seamlessly for enhanced stability and performance. They meticulously analyze physicochemical properties, 3D structures, surface characteristics, and dynamic behaviors to fine-tune enzyme orientations, ensuring reliability in practical applications.
    1. 9. ArcoScreen - Revolutionizing Drug Screening

      • Headquarters - Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
      • Founders - Margaux Duchamp, Thamani Dahoun/li>
      • Establishment year - 2022
      • Funding(in USD) - $ 320.7K
      • Investor/s - Venture Kick, Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT)
    2. ArcoScreen introduces a pioneering microfluidic platform for drug screening, focusing on critical cell membrane receptors like GPCRs involved in diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Their revolutionary SynScreen technology represents the first chip-based GPCR drug screening assay, enabling direct identification of drug actions on patient cells in a single test. This innovation transforms GPCR screening by offering a non-radioactive, on-chip assay directly applicable to patient cells. Developed at EPFL, this technology offers pharmaceutical companies a new approach to predict drug failures in later-stage clinical trials during the in-vitro screening phase.
    1. 10. Adoram Therapeutics - Innovating Immunotherapy.

      • Headquarters - Grand-Lancy, Switzerland
      • Founders - David Pejoski, Hesham Hamed, Leonardo Scapozza
      • Establishment year - 2022
      • Funding(in USD) - NA
      • Investor/s - NA
    2. Adoram Therapeutics is developing small molecule allosteric modulators that target specific GPCRs, focusing on therapies that can alter receptor signaling positively or negatively. Their primary asset is a negative allosteric modulator (NAM) for the adenosine 2A receptor (A2AR), aimed at treating solid tumors. This innovative immunotherapy retains potency in high adenosine microenvironments typical of many cancers, offering promising potential across a broad spectrum of cancer types.
  • Swiss Biopharma financing

    According to the Zefyron startup database, the Swiss biopharma sector peaked in 2021, raising over $6 billion USD, including a record $100 million USD in early-stage funding. However, 2022 saw an 83% decline in total funds raised, though early-stage funding dropped less sharply. Despite this setback, recent years have shown signs of recovery, with nearly $900 million USD raised by mid-2024, following a total of around $2.8 billion USD in 2023. Yet, early-stage funding remains low, comprising just 3% of total funding in recent years.

    This increasing gap in investment distribution suggests that many companies receive minimal or no funding, despite an overall increase in capital investments in the Swiss biopharma industry of more than 50% from 2022 to 2023.

    Early-Stage Venture Capital in Switzerland
    Money raised in Early-stage Biopharmaceutical startups of Switzerland
    Source : Zefyron Startup Database

    Join the Swiss Biopharma Revolution : What to Expect from Swiss Biopharma in 2024 and Beyond

    Swiss biopharma companies present attractive investment opportunities for global and local investors, capitalizing on Switzerland's strong infrastructure and supportive biotechnology environment. With minimal domestic demand but high innovation output, international collaboration is crucial. Swiss biotechs are expected to strengthen partnerships with global pharmaceutical firms, research institutions, and investors, expanding their global market reach and fostering knowledge exchange. Future advancements in personalized medicine, drug delivery, and innovative therapies are set to revolutionize global healthcare standards in the coming years.

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