Vienna, 17 October 2013 – The Vienna Life Science Report 2013/14, published today by the Vienna life science cluster organization LISAvienna, shows that the life sciences are creating more highly skilled jobs in Vienna than previously known. This detailed analysis determined, among other things, the number of companies and research institutions in the fields of biotechnology & pharmaceuticals and medical technology operating in the city of Vienna. The findings confirm that, in international comparison, Vienna has developed very positively as a life sciences location. The fact that the international community shares this view is evident from the cooperation agreements between young biotechnology companies and international pharmaceutical groups. Also the renewed decision by BIO-Europe, the largest international biotechnology partnering conference, to select Vienna as the venue for its event in November of this year, demonstrates this international significance.
A study that was commissioned by the Vienna life science cluster organization LISAvienna and published today confirms the immense importance of the life sciences industry in Vienna in 2012: 378 companies in the fields of biotechnology & pharmaceuticals and medical technology employed 21,031 staff and generated 9.1 billion euros in sales in 2012. A further 25 research institutions employed an additional workforce of 14,289 who published 5,733 scientific publications and supervised 38,290 students. This brings the total to 35,320 highly skilled jobs in the fields of life science, biotechnology & pharmaceuticals and medical technology in Vienna.
The new study actually made it possible to conduct a differentiated analysis of the life sciences in Vienna. For instance, not only was a distinction made between companies and scientific institutions, but the companies' fields of activity were also categorized as biotechnology & pharmaceuticals or medical technology. Renate Brauner, Vice Mayor and Finance Councillor of the City of Vienna, expressed her satisfaction with the study's findings: "The numbers clearly show that the boom in the life sciences in Vienna continues, and the industry thus also continues to play a key role as an employer with valuable local jobs. More than 60 percent of all biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies operating in Austria are now located in Vienna. As engines of innovation, they provide strong momentum for future growth during what is, unfortunately, an ongoing financial crisis."
Biotechnology: Young Companies and Leading-edge Basic Research
The consistent support of both federal and local city politics for the life sciences with a focus on biotechnology has resulted in the establishment of excellent basic research institutions in Vienna in the last 25 years. These internationally renowned institutions, in turn, have "lured" outstanding researchers to Vienna and also resulted in the establishment of more than 50 highly innovative biotechnology companies in their vicinity. These young companies are, on average, less than seven years old. They exhibit rapid development and are at the international forefront of progress. The newly presented study likewise provides impressive evidence of this: 22 drugs that were developed in the city of Vienna in 2012 were in clinical phase I – III, and an additional 33 substances were in preclinical development. The activities of the associated companies were concentrated in three areas: infectious diseases, oncology and respiratory disorders. Several pharmaceutical corporations have since also taken notice of the innovations of young biotechnology companies in Vienna. Subsequent licensing deals since 2008 can trigger a total of up to 2.67 billion euros in payments if the drugs pass the clinical studies and become ready for market. According to one of the two Managing Directors of LISAvienna, Johannes Sarx: "The close network between basic research institutions and life science companies in Vienna has been a tremendous success. Moreover, the successes have motivated more and more people to start up businesses. In this way, in translational projects, pioneering innovations from basic research are developed into marketable products."
International Visibility and Acceptance
The outstanding basic research and licensing deals have contributed significantly to the international perception of the life sciences in Vienna, especially in the field of biotechnology. This is underscored by the renewed organization of the largest European biotechnology partnering conference, BIO-Europe, in Vienna in November 2013. As many as 3,000 participants from more than 50 countries are expected to convene in Vienna. For the conference, LISAvienna is organizing the largest exhibition in the still-young history of Vienna's biotechnology industry. Peter Halwachs, likewise Managing Director of LISAvienna, comments: "We are pleased that more than 100 Austrian companies and research institutions will participate in this conference to introduce themselves to international industry professionals. Around two-thirds of these companies are based in Vienna. This again underscores the great importance of Vienna within Austria in this forward-looking industry." There will even be a special focus on the strong network between Vienna’s life science companies and academic institutions at the event: The "LISAvienna Academic Pavilion" is aimed at presenting basic research findings that have made a significant contribution to the international recognition of Vienna as an innovation location.
The full "Vienna Life Science Report 2013/2014" is available for download. Visit: http://www.lisavienna.at/sites/default/files/vienna-life-science-report_2013-14_web.pdf
Life Science Austria Vienna (LISAvienna) is the cluster organization for biotechnology/pharmaceuticals and medical technology in the City of Vienna. It aims to be a central source of knowledge to provide strategic and operational support for all players in the life sciences. As a joint initiative of the Republic of Austria and the City of Vienna, it helps ensure that the economic potential of the life sciences is utilized and turned into marketable products, improved processes and new services. Activities focus on customized consulting and advising for innovative companies. The LISAvienna initiative is funded by austria wirtschaftsservice (aws) and ZIT – The technology agency of the City of Vienna – and acts as the interface between these two support agencies. LISAvienna succeeded for the second time, after 2009, in positioning Vienna as the 2013 venue for the internationally renowned BIO-Europe® conference. BIO-Europe® is Europe's largest partnering conference for the biotechnology industry.