220 Companies Place Switzerland First in Biotech Density Per Capita

NEW YORK, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- With 148 biotech companies and 72 suppliers to the industry -- or 220 firms involved in the business -- Switzerland has the world's highest biotech density per capita, reports Mario Brossi of the foreign investment agency Location Promotion Switzerland (http://www.locationswitzerland.com). "These firms employ 14,000 people and have an annual turnover of 7 billion Swiss francs," he says. "Supporting the industry are more than 300 research groups at universities and other public institutions focusing on biotechnology."

On Wednesday, June 18th during BIO 2008 at the San Diego Convention Center, Mr. Brossi will review Switzerland's biotech strong points as a participant on the International Competitiveness Panel discussion, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m., Room 24 B-C.

Swiss Investment Credentials -- One Nation, One Biotech Cluster

"New investors pumped a record 885 million francs into Swiss biotech in 2007, up from the previous record -- 780 million in '06," Mr. Brossi says. "This vote of confidence echoes a report by The Institute of Management Development in Lausanne, which has declared Switzerland the best nation for basic research and knowledge transfer between industry and academia. More than 40 technology parks throughout the country support the increasingly important tech transfer process."

Intellectual property protection is one of Switzerland's strong suits, Mr. Brossi says. "For example, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property recently addressed the issue of biotechnological innovations concerning the extent of protection given to nucleic acid sequences. The legislation is expected to come into force on July 1 of this year." He adds that Switzerland is a leading research nation, ranking top in terms of publications per person, and that in terms of relative citation impact, Switzerland ranks first in immunology, molecular biology, pharmacology and physics.

The Swiss Biotech Business Environment -- Access to Markets and Talent

While Switzerland is not a member of the EU, a series of bilateral agreements with the EU make certain that goods, services and personnel move freely between the country and EU member nations, Mr. Brossi explains. Outside Europe, the U.S. and Canada are among the country's major trading partners.

"To help the industry secure needed talent Switzerland has opened its labor market to the 15 original EU and 5 EFTA Nations by eliminating a quota system," Mr. Brossi says. "This eases staffing tasks for companies requiring skilled personnel in excess of those graduating from Swiss universities and institutes of technology. Foreign-based firms as well as Switzerland's own companies now can draw staff from among the best Europe has to offer."

Overall Business Climate

A country's ranking in recognized economic studies provides some help in making foreign direct investment decisions across many businesses. Some examples of Switzerland's rankings:

The Swiss Tax Environment

According to recent surveys of European tax regimes, Switzerland's tax system is one of the leaders in terms of overall attractiveness, ease of filing and rate of taxation.

"Tax incentives for new and expanding businesses are available at the Federal and cantonal (state) level," Mr. Brossi says. "Almost every one of the 26 cantonal tax laws provide for either relief or exemption from taxes, although the degree of relief or exception varies from canton to canton and on the business being conducted. All taxes are set at the cantonal level, which simplifies things, and generally there is an informal and open relationship between administrator and payer."

For an overview of biotechnology in Switzerland visit http://www.swissbiotech.org

Visit the Swiss Pavilion 3745 @ BIO 2008.

SOURCE Location Promotion Switzerland

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