Despite continued turbulence globally, preliminary data reveal that the Swiss biotech and medtech sectors are continuing to demonstrate their resilience in 2023.
The medtech sector has already seen an increase of CHF50m in funding, while biotech investment run rates are ahead of 2022.
There is continuing startup activity in both areas, helped by the close collaboration between corporates, startups and investors, and access to experts with many years of top management experience.
All of this is recognised by the country again heading the Global Innovation Index. The figures are remarkable given that that the population of Switzerland is only 8.8 million people – just more than a fourthieth of the size of the US.
Thanks to the CHF134m financing of Distalmotion, and large financing rounds closed by Xeltis, EbaMed, Nanoflex Robotics, Nagi Bioscience and Zurimed Technologies, Switzerland will see a new record in invested capital in the medtech sector this year.
Although fewer deals have been completed than in 2022, the amount invested in Q1-Q3 2023 has already exceeded that in the whole of 2022.
In 2022, CHF408m was invested in Swiss biotech startups. In Q1-Q3 2023, the figure was CHF331m, which represents a higher run rate.
With CHF103m, Noema Pharma has raised the most money so far in 2023. The startup has in-licensed drug candidates from Roche.
The Wyss Zurich ETH Zurich Accelerator has also been particularly active having already funded 25 companies from its initial endowment of CHF120m.
A prime example is Nanoflex Robotics, which is developing an endovascular navigation system, allowing wires and catheters to be steered through vasculature using electromagnetic fields.
In addition, Hylomorph, a clinical-stage medical device company developing innovative materials, which was able to close a financing round this year. Other companies which were selected include Cutiss, MYNERVA, and OxyPrem.
The technological strength of Swiss biotechs in drug development is reflected by the numerous sales of startups to established companies in Europe and the US.
The acquisition of VectivBio stands out; the company, which was listed on Nasdaq, was acquired in May by Ironwood Pharma for $1bn.
Startups that are active in diagnostics or in laboratory automation have also seen successful exits. The outstanding transaction in this area was the acquisition of a majority shareholding in ETH proteomics spinoff Biognosys by the Bruker Corporation.
Biognosys will retain its existing team and expand into the US.
Stefan Kyora, CEO of Startupticker, a long-term expert observer of the Swiss medtech and life sciences sector, comments: "We are witnessing good progress in both the Biotech and Medtech sectors."
"Although Biotech investments remained stable through the end of Q3 startup activity is high and a significant funding round led by Distalmotion has propelled medtech investments to reach an all-time high in terms of invested capital for this year."