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 2017, a total of 554 companies, research institutions and further core organizations were active in the life science sector in Vienna, having a combined workforce of 37,595 people.

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. 481 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 22,930 people and generated 12.2 billion euros in sales in 2017. Thereof, 177 companies (37%) carry out research or develop and produce innovative products.

12.2 bn
Sales / Year
750 m
R&D Investment
Source: Vienna Life Science Report 2018/19 (Data: 2017)

Focusing on improving health

Besides the strong biotech departments of large companies, Vienna is proud of being home to 78 younger dedicated biotechnology companies. 59 of them focus on health issues: Infectious diseases, neoplasms (cancer) and diseases of the respiratory system are center stage. However, also business areas going beyond medical issues have emerged in Vienna’s biotech community.
Additional 46 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.

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.

Eva Prieschl-Grassauer
CSO, Marinomed Biotech AG

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 12,620 members of staff, which is 60% of all academic employees in this field in Austria. With roughly 34,700 students in the area of life sciences, Vienna educates more young scientists than the rest of Austria. In 2017, 3,725 students graduated with a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in Vienna, establishing the next generation of researchers. A multitude of publications (4,602 in 2017) in international journals is evidence of the excellent research work in Vienna. Grants provided by the European Research Council became another indicator for quality: At calls issued until the end of 2017, Vienna based researchers succeeded in attracting 84 ERC grants in the life sciences. This represents 72% of all ERC grants in Austria in this sector.

Academic Institutions
Source: Vienna Life Science Report 2018/19 (Data: 2017)

Clinical expertise awaits partners

Vienna is Austria’s most important node for high-end medicine. Health professionals at some 25 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