Life Sciences in the Heart of Europe From molecular biology to medical engineering: Austria – a top location Austria is a top European location for life sciences. This is rooted in a long tradition of excellent medical research, but is also demonstrated today by the extremely dynamic development in the cutting edge areas of biotechnology and medical engineering. A large number of committed multinational companies in Austria add impetus to this momentum along with the lively scene of start-ups and spin-offs in the field of science. The results are new medicines, therapies and technologies, such as the drug ZMAPP developed by the American firm Mapp Biopharma, in which high hopes have been placed in the fight against the Ebola virus. Research findings at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna serve as the basis for ZMAPP. Life sciences as an economic factor The life sciences sector in Austria is wide-ranging and diversified. One distinguishing feature is the high level of networking between producers, suppliers and service providers. This cooperation is promoted by five regional clusters which, with public sector support, assume important coordination responsibilities. 723 firms in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical engineering Revenue: EUR 17.7 billion (2012) 5.4 percent of Austria’s GDP 50,000 employees Source: Life Science Report Austria 2013 288 companies operate in the field of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. This sector is characterized by an impressive intensity of research. The approximately 100 specialized biotech companies invested the equivalent of 70 percent of their total revenue in research in 2012. Primary areas of research include the fight against cancer and infectious diseases. In the field of medical engineering, 435 companies deal with a broad range of research areas, with a special focus on electromechanical medical technology and software development. Lively biotope for start-ups and spin-offs More than half of all Austrian life sciences companies have been established over the past two decades, many as spin-offs from academic institutions. ■ MED-EL: founded in 1986, spin-off of the Vienna University of Technology, develops high-tech cochlear implants. ■ Guger Technologies: 1999, spin-off of the Graz University of Technology, works on brain-computer interfaces. ■ AFFiRiS: 2003, research on vaccines against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, atherosclerosis, MSA, diabetes. ■ Apeiron: 2005, spin-off of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, conducts research e.g. on childhood cancer. ■ Nabriva: founded 2006, spin-off of Sandoz, develops new types of antibiotics. ■ Marinomed: established 2006, spin-off of the University of Veterinary Medicine, carries out research on therapies against viral infections of the respiratory system. ■ Haplogen: founded 2010, spin-off of the Center for Molecular Medicine, works on drugs against viral infections. Austria teems with multinational companies ■ Baxter operates its largest facility outside of the USA and its largest research site for bioscience. ■ Boehringer-Ingelheim coordinates its activities in 30 countries via the Regional Center Vienna, selecting Vienna as its center for cancer research. ■ Sandoz produces generic drugs in Austria and conducts research on injectable generics for cancer therapy. ■ Eli Lilly uses Austria as a regional platform for international research. ■ Merck and Takeda have production sites in Austria. ■ Clinical research is organized and financed in Austria by Pfizer, Janssen, Eli Lilly, Bayer, Sanofi-Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline, to name a few. ■ Siemens develops e.g. dose-reducing processes in diagnostics and imaging. ■ GE Healthcare and Agfa Healthcare develop imaging procedures. ■ Ottobock produces high-tech prostheses in Vienna for the global market. Business Location Austria enjoys strong interest from international companies which conduct research, manufacture products and organize clinical studies with domestic partners in Austria. Many have set up their headquarters for Central and Eastern Europe in Austria. The list of multinationals based in Austria reads like the Who’s Who of the global life sciences industry. Sound basis due to excellent fundamental research Outstanding basic research comprises the underlying basis for the dynamic development of Austria’s life sciences sector. It is not only rooted in the tried and tested university tradition of medical research, but in numerous start-ups and non-university research institutions founded over the past two decades. More than 55,000 employees in Austria carry out research in the field of life sciences. Life sciences at universities ■ More than half of Austria’s 22 universities are actively involved in the field of life sciences, particularly the medical universities of Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck and the newly-established faculty in Linz. Research by non-university institutes ■ Life sciences departments and groups at non-university research institutions such as the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) and Joanneum Research ■ Institute for Molecular Pathology (IMP) Research at institutes of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) ■ Center for Molecular Medicine (CeMM) ■ Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology (GMI) ■ Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) Hot Spots of Life Sciences in Austria Excellent infrastructure: Vienna Bio Center The Vienna Bio Center (VBC) has made a name for itself as a top location for life sciences in Central Europe. It is home to four institutes carrying out basic research, a university of applied sciences and twelve companies. A total of 1,400 researchers and 700 students from 40 countries combine to forge a dynamic and creative environment. One of the main success factors is the modern infrastructure of the Campus Support Facility, which is jointly used by neighboring residents. Exemplary cooperation: Oncotyrol The mission of the research center Oncotyrol in Innsbruck is to bring personalized cancer medicine from the laboratory to a patient’s sick bed. Oncotyrol is one of the competence centers supported by the national funding program COMET. The life sciences competence at Tyrolean universities is bundled with the know-how of industrial partners, including Novartis, Janssen, AbbVie, Roche, Amgen and Fresenius Biotech. All of them focus on achieving one common goal i.e. to develop new biomarkers, measuring methods and therapeutic approaches. International player: Boehringer Ingelheim Boehringer Ingelheim is the largest pharmaceutical company conducting research in Germany, and has an extensive commitment to its operations in Vienna. The Group’s cancer research center is located here, as well as the Regional Center Vienna with business responsibility for 30 countries. Due to the founding of the Institute for Molecular Pathology (IMP), Boehringer Ingelheim is also an important driver of independent basic research in Vienna. Dynamic company founder: Guger Technologies Guger Technologies founded in Graz carries out research on computer-brain interfaces and develops systems for the diagnosis and communications support for patients with an impaired consciousness. The company gained an international reputation by developing the first writing device for completely paralyzed patients. Guger Technologies also supplies universities and research institutions around the world with measuring devices and software for brain research. Broad-based research promotion, attractive tax system Public authorities provide support to the booming life sciences sector via: _ budgets of universities and the Academy of Sciences _ project funding by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) _ the competence center funding program COMET _ the pre-seed and seed funding programs for company founders of the Austrian funding bank AWS _ the funding program for clinical research of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) In addition, Austria offers an investment-friendly tax system featuring a ten percent tax credit for investments in research as well as a uniform corporate tax rate of 25 percent.
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