“India is one of the priority countries for Switzerland when it comes to innovation and science. I look forward to seeing the network of innovators and the exchange of ideas between our two countries grow even stronger.” – Dr Andreas Baum, Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan
Dr Baum made these remarks at the opening ceremony of BioAsia 2020 – Asia’s largest lifesciences conclave, hosted in Hyderabad, Telangana, a state in southern India. Representatives of the Swiss healthtech ecosystem participated in this initiative to explore the latest healthcare innovations in India.
To better understand the potential of Indo-Swiss partnership in healthcare, one needs to take a closer look at the biotech industries of the two countries.
Telangana is home to nearly 800 pharma/biotech companies, valued at $50 billion. The Telangana government aims to double it to $100 billion within the next ten years, generating employment for nearly 400,000 people. Nearly a third of vaccines produced in the world come from Hyderabad. Global pharmaceutical giants such as Novartis, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, AMRI, etc. have already established their India and Asia subsidiaries in the city.
Similarly, the Swiss biotech industry is home to 312 companies, generating a revenue of 4 billion CHF, whilst investing over 1.5 billion CHF in R&D, yearly. The country represents around 40% of the European life sciences market capitalisation across Europe’s major stock exchanges. Often ranked as the most innovative country in the world, Switzerland performs cutting-edge research in medical-, bio- and nano-technologies.
Anke Hollnagen, Director Asia of the Basel Area Swiss Investment Council, effectively summarised the similarities between the lifesciences sector of the two countries when she said, “the lifesciences industry is of enormous importance for the economies of both India and Switzerland. Both countries also have their own pharma hotspots. The Genome Valley, in Hyderabad, is an established centre for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries in India. Basel is the home of pharma giants Roche and Novartis, and a thriving hub for innovative companies and startups. This is why Basel is focusing on India in 2019 and 2020”.
India has long been on Switzerland’s radar as a strategic partner for healthcare collaborations. At the World Health Assembly, Geneva, in 2013, the then Swiss and Indian health ministers had outlined areas of collaboration in healthcare that included, non – communicable diseases, maternal & child health, medical research, etc. Today, the focus has shifted to technology, talent and innovation. Swiss pharma giant, Novartis, picked Hyderabad to be its first digital innovation hub in India.
Dr. Vasant Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, who received the Genome Valley Excellence Award at BioAsia 2020 for his contribution to lifesciences, said, “India continues to be critical for us. It’s one of our largest sites in terms of people, over 8,000. It’s one of the few countries where we have operations in drug development, research, manufacturing, business services and a large commercial organisation.”
To know more about the impressions formed by Swiss representatives on India’s biocluster, watch the video: