Swiss Park Basel Area as a world center for medical breakthroughs
A long history of know-how, favorable taxation and many talents make the Park Basel Area a key engine of the Swiss economy. The founders of the park see their creation as a catalyst for progress, which combines the versatile knowledge of scientists with modern technological engineers’ new ideas. It is the ideal starting point for enterprise development in the life sciences industry.
City on the Rhine river
If Switzerland is a model of high-quality education and advanced development of science for Europe, then Basel is, in a sense, the reason for such a passion for the country. Here are the chemical and pharmaceutical industries’ centres: from the production of paint and vitamins to the development of innovations in agrochemistry and genetic products. Basel is the headquarters of the pharmaceutical conglomerates Novartis and Hoffmann-La Roche. The formation of the city as the capital of the development of science and technology dates back to 1459 when Pope Pius II founded the first and now the oldest university in Switzerland by a bull (an official document of the Catholic head Church — ed.). Even at the very beginning of its existence, the educational institution already had a faculty of medicine. Between the emergence of the Universität Basel and the Park Basel Area lies a “distance” of more than half a millennium.
Focus on progress
As a descendant of the University of Basel, the innovation park continues a true Swiss tradition — focusing on areas that are concerned with health. Biotech, MedTech and industrial transformation are the sectors that are actually occupied by the residents of the park.
More than 700 companies that develop in the biotechnosphere have found their place in Basel’s innovation park. With multinational pharmaceutical giants and a thriving startup arena, the park has the status of a leading centre for life sciences in the world. The biotech industry in Basel is focused on more than just further improving the available drugs. Basically, companies’ goal is to make breakthrough methods of making drugs to meet those needs that today do not yet have adequate treatment or diagnosis.
Gloves, syringes, goggles and even masks, without which it is difficult to imagine human life in the era of Covid-19, are what medical tech companies in the Swiss park are working on. In addition to materials for tools for protection and diagnostics, the development of residents includes other electronic devices that will change monitoring, therapy and treatment in the future. Examples of real success stories of park residents in the field of medical technology can be safely attributed to the achievements of AOT — an investment holding with a portfolio rich in medical innovators. For example, CARLO, which was founded by a PhD and three professors and invented a laser arm controlled by a robot.
New consumer needs, global competition, changing business models and the development of disruptive technologies have put the manufacturing industry at the very heart of a rapid transformation process. The use of robotics, IoT, AI, VR, AR or 3D printing in mass production has been called Industry 4.0. The new format of the industrial output requires the emergence of a large number of know-how solutions due to the rapid exchange of experience and resources among enterprises from different industries. It often becomes a real obstacle to scaling both a giant organization and a growing SME. In Basel’s Swiss Innovation Park, these goals are addressed by a network of educational institutions, where entrepreneurs and scientists implement joint projects. Since 2020, one of the buildings of the Swiss innovation department has opened unique prototyping rooms. Here, residents with different backgrounds and knowledge can develop and implement new industrial transformation ideas through access to physical and digital equipment. Also, Park Basel Area has an i4 Challenge initiative to accelerate the development of startups and projects through innovative solutions, new approaches and leading products in Industry 4.0.
Conditions for science development
Science and business alike have all the necessary needs in the Swiss innovation park. With the characteristic scale of a country with high nominal wealth per adult, the Park Basel Area infrastructure meets the needs for the comfort of residents and access and communication with each other, which brings any idea closer to implementation. The main feature of a company or institution staying in a park is not choosing between an office, a communal space or a laboratory. The park is designed to unite residents who can make discoveries and find disruptive solutions, entirely focusing on technology and life sciences. The rest is quite successfully taken care of by the Park Basel Area.