Life Sciences in Vienna

A growing sector with scientific tradition

Vienna can look back on an excellent scientific tradition in the field of medical research. Semmelweis, Billroth and Landsteiner are part of this history. The outstanding reputation of the Vienna Medical Schools of the past is carried on today – in academia and on the business side. Vienna’s life sciences community has experienced significant growth for many years. In 2014, a total of 480 companies, research institutions and further core organizations were active in the life science sector in Vienna, having a combined workforce of 35,730 people. New figures will be published at the end of this year.

Dynamic start-ups meet big players

Vienna’s outstanding geographical position and its ranking as offering the best quality of life in the world, make the city an ideal place for marketing products across Europe. All pharmaceutical and medical device companies ranked in the top five worldwide by annual sales have a presence in Vienna. In addition to the international companies, a dynamic start-up scene has been developing since the 1990s. 434 biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies produce or develop products and processes in these fields in Vienna or are active as suppliers, service or sales companies. These enterprises employed more than 22,000 people and generated nearly 10 billion euros in sales in 2014. Thereof, 133 companies (30%) carry out research or develop and produce innovative products.

9.9 bn
Sales / Year
549 m
R&D Investment
Source: Vienna Life Science Report 2015/16 (Data: 2014)

Focusing on improving health

Besides the strong biotech departments of large companies, Vienna is proud of being home to 67 younger dedicated biotechnology companies. 49 of them focus on health issues: Infectious diseases, neoplasms (cancer), diseases of the respiratory system and diseases of the blood and the immune system are center stage. During the last few years, also business areas going beyond medical issues have emerged. Additional 32 dedicated medical device companies are located in Vienna. These have succeeded in establishing particular strengths in the areas of software for medicine, telemedicine and e-health, electromechanical medical devices, assistive products for persons with disabilities and single use devices.

Scientific excellence at the heart of Europe

Vienna is clearly in first place in Austria when it comes to education and research in the field of life sciences. Five universities, two universities of applied sciences and eleven non-university research institutes employ 12,000 members of staff, which is 60% of all academic employees in this field in Austria. With roughly 33,000 students in the area of life sciences, Vienna educates more young scientists than the rest of Austria. A multitude of publications (4,816 in 2014) in international journals is evidence of the excellent research work in Vienna. Grants provided by the European Research Council became another indicator for quality: Until the end of 2014, Vienna based researchers succeeded in attracting 54 ERC grants in the life sciences. This represents 81% of all ERC grants in Austria in this sector.

Academic Institutions
Source: Vienna Life Science Report 2015/16 (Data: 2014)

Clinical expertise awaits partners

Vienna is Austria’s most important node for high-end medicine. Health professionals at some 30 hospitals not only serve Vienna’s 1.9 million inhabitants, but the whole Vienna region providing home to more than 3.8 million people. Experienced partners for clinical research push back the frontiers of knowledge to the benefit of patients. Commercial partners are welcome to join in. Conduct your clinical trials in Vienna!

Hans Loibner - APEIRON Biologics
(C) APEIRON Biologics AG

I have been living in Vienna for over 70 years, and it's a great place. I've been the CEO of biotech companies in Vienna for almost 20 years, and it's a great location for these too. We have valuable support and a positive climate.

Hans Loibner
Ex-CEO, APEIRON Biologics AG