Focusing on Biotech & Pharma

Vienna is the hub of the Austrian biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Some 240 companies are active in Vienna, employing more than 14,000 people and generating around 8.7 billion euros in revenue per year. All top 20 global players in the sector operate a presence in Vienna. Many have a sales unit and a clinical research unit in the city that prepares and monitors clinical trials, for example Novartis, Pfizer and Takeda. Besides, Vienna is home to a growing number of innovative start-ups, mainly in medical biotechnology.

Research, development and manufacturing

For 2017, 126 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies with a focus on research, development and manufacturing have been recorded in Vienna. Together, these enterprises have generated the bigger part of the sector’s revenue (5.1 billion euros) and employed three-fourths of the workforce (10,500 employees). R&D expenditures have totaled to 697 million euros in 2017 alone, a clear indicator of the sector’s commitment to innovation. Several big players are currently upgrading their R&D and manufacturing facilities in Vienna with Boehringer Ingelheim and Octapharma carrying out the largest investments.

Philipp von Lattorff - Boehringer Ingelheim
(C) Boehringer Ingelheim / Marion Carniel

Political stability is a major factor when considering major investments in a country. Austria scores very highly in that regard, as it does in terms of infrastructure and standard of living. Without a doubt, however, one of the most important considerations for a research-driven company is research subsidies. This also played a decisive role in the decision to invest 700 million euros in the construction of our new biopharmaceutical production facility in Vienna. We are looking for highly qualified candidates to fill the 500 new positions, created for this project, and attach great importance for that reason to the training and qualifications of potential employees.

Philipp von Lattorff
Managing Director at Boehringer Ingelheim RCV GmbH & Co KG

Dedicated biotech in numbers

The number of ‘dedicated biotech’ businesses in Vienna that meet the corresponding OECD definition has continued to rise over the years, growing from 43 companies in 2010, to 67 in 2014, and to 78 in 2017. The vast majority of them focus on medical biotechnology: 59 companies have been reported to develop drugs or diagnostics in a wide range of indications with infectious diseases, cancer and diseases of the respiratory system being the main focus. However, biotech companies focusing on industrial applications and research reagents are on the rise in Vienna.

Improved financing situation

The financing situation of the dedicated biotech companies in Vienna has improved in recent years. In 2017, 31 biotechs including Apeiron, Nabriva, Panoptes, Themis and Valneva reported receiving 280 million euros from investors. Almost half of the money came from venture capital investors (48%). Stock markets have gained in significance as a source of capital in recent years and public equity provided 42% of all capital raised by dedicated biotech companies in Vienna in 2017.

IPOs in 2019: Marinomed and Hookipa.

Eva Prieschl-Grassauer
© Agnes Stadlmann

Vienna is the life science hotspot in Europe. The city bears excellent infrastructure in general and a set of universities with outstanding life science research develops the talents for the future. Marinomed´s listing on the Vienna stock exchange now enables us to focus on projects of the Marinosolv technology platform, in particular Budesolv and Tacrosolv, both targeting the allergy market.

Eva Prieschl-Grassauer
CSO, Marinomed Biotech AG

Attractive partners for global players

Viennese biotech companies are highly successful in establishing strategic partnerships worldwide, including licensing agreements and M&A activities. From 2015 to 2017, 39 deals have been communicated in public. For most of them, financial details were not disclosed. Entirely confidential deals are not included in this figure.

Clinical pipeline projects

In March 2019, small and medium-sized biotechnology companies in Vienna reported a total of 47 drug candidates in their clinical pipelines, thereof 30 biologics and 17 small molecules.

  • 5 products in the launch phase or with recent marketing approval
  • 12 product candidates with ongoing phase III trials or ready for phase III
  • 20 product candidates with ongoing phase II trials or ready for phase II
  • 10 product candidates with ongoing phase I trials or ready for phase I

These figures do not include the high number of clinical trials that are conducted by larger enterprises and the academic community in Vienna due to of the city’s extensive expertise and its large patient pool.

Suppliers, services providers and sales offices

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector requires the continuous support of suppliers, service providers and sales offices. In Vienna, 113 sales, supply and service companies together employed some 3,500 people in 2017 and reported a turnover of 3.7 billion euros. The sales and distribution units alone have recorded more than 2,700 employees and a turnover of 3.4 million euros.

More details, tables and lists are provided in the Vienna Life Science Report

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LISAvienna is available if you have any questions

Jürgen Fuchs
Technology Expert Biotech & Pharma
T +43 1 501 75 547
M +43 664 548 67 28
fuchs@LISAvienna.at