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The gravitational attraction of the Basel Area – Europe’s leading healthcare hub

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The gravitational attraction of the Basel Area
– Europe’s leading healthcare hub


Breakthrough advances in digital technology and artificial intelligence are transforming how we manage our health, and helping data-driven life science and healthcare companies to go where no one has gone before.

Spearheading this light-speed leap into the future are world leading pharmaceutical companies from the Basel Area like Roche, Novartis, Bayer, and J&J, together with an enterprising band of more than 700 life science companies and startups representing every facet of the healthcare continuum.

Powered by advances in data science and artificial intelligence, they are on a mission to develop new digital health and artificial intelligence solutions that have vast potential in improving the ability to accurately predict, diagnose and treat diseases. These developments provide new opportunities to better manage the health of our society.

These companies are attracted by the gravitational pull of the Basel Area’s ecosystem. It’s highly attractive with its first-class research and manufacturing facilities, with renowned universities, teaching hospitals, and established research institutes driving innovation in collaboration with companies and institutions, and many forward-looking investment bodies. Additionally, at 31k, the Basel Area has one of the largest pools of healthcare talent in Europe.

“If you are a healthcare innovator looking to grow your business in the European hub for life sciences, then we can help. We successfully assist international companies to set up or expand business operations in the Basel Area, and connect you to the dynamic cluster of leading companies, top universities and world-class research centers. Connect with us to explore your opportunities and to grow your business in the healthcare hotspot of the Basel Area,” says Lucas Scherdel, Director of the Basel Area’s DayOne Accelerator.


Basel Area is rising to the top among the best places to grow a healthcare company

One such company which is boldly pushing the boundaries of life sciences is Singapore-based Holmusk. Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, the company went ahead with forward-looking confidence to establish a new base at the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area on the Novartis Campus in early 2021.

Holmusk develops data-driven digital therapies to treat a variety of disorders, including mental and neurological illnesses. It aims to build the world’s largest platform for real-world evidence (RWE), in which data from clinical practice is used to develop treatments.

According to Stefan Suter, Head of Holmusk Europe, staffing was a key consideration in choosing Basel as a location: “In Basel, we find multilingual, specialized talent from fresh graduates to seasoned professionals to be part of the data-driven revolution in healthcare.”

In addition to current and future employees, the companies that were already located in Basel were also a significant pull factor for Holmusk. “Basel, with its large ecosystem of global leaders in life sciences, offers multiple partnership opportunities, and allows direct access to expand business into Germany or France,” says Nawal Roy, CEO of Holmusk.

Source: Holmusk in the Basel Area (video)


Basel Area, a thriving ecosystem for big companies and early-stage healthcare

Basel Area is home to some of the biggest names in pharmaceuticals and the more recently emerging phenomena of digital healthcare and artificial intelligence.

Founded by the Basel pharmaceutical giant Novartis, the AI Innovation Lab is a research and development engine and go-to place for AI. In collaboration with Microsoft, the lab aims to leverage data & Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform how medicines are discovered, developed and commercialized.

Headquartered in Basel, the pharmaceutical giant Roche invests heavily in R&D in personalized health. Roche caused a sensation in 2018 when it acquired the US company Flatiron for 1.86 billion Swiss francs. Flatiron specializes in big data in cancer research.

Founded in Basel, Clinerion has become the global leader in medical data informatics. Together with its partner Volv Global, they work to enable better identification and diagnosis by combining EMR data analysis and AI.

In collaboration with the international pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment supplier Thermo Fisher, the Basel IT company Genedata has developed a platform for managing biopharmaceutical R&D.


Some of the other Basel Area-based stars now blazing a trail in the world of personalized health include:

Biotechnology firm Scailyte, a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), is now firmly established at its site on the Novartis Campus of the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area. Scailyte is aiming to increase its scope and double its staff. The company has developed data and Artificial Intelligence software solutions for the healthcare industry, enabling millions of individual cells to be analyzed much more quickly than was previously possible. Peter Nestorov, founder and CEO of Scailyte: “Relocating Scailyte’s HQ to Basel was a key strategic move, which positions us at the heart of the global biotech cluster in Basel and provides us a solid basis for our international expansion.”

The Danish deep tech startup Abzu has recently settled on the Novartis Campus of the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area. From there, the deep tech company is pursuing its European and ethical vision for artificial intelligence (AI), especially in the pharmaceutical ecosystem. Abzu was founded in 2018 in Denmark, the startup has secured an investment of €8.1 million so far. It is aiming to break the USA and China’s dominance in artificial intelligence.

The Franco-US startup Owkin is establishing a branch office in Basel. The company develops solutions for the life sciences industry on the basis of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The company uses patient data that is protected by Federated Learning. With this approach, Owkin has already raised US$ 70 million in venture capital.

Basel-based startup Lyfegen has developed a platform for value-based healthcare. This should provide improved outcomes for patients and result in healthcare cost savings.

Nutrix is developing a high-tech nanosensor for glucose monitoring which it says will revolutionize the world of preventive medicine.

BetterDoc, with 80 staff, says it is the world’s best patient-to-specialist matching service, pairing patients with the best doctor that suits their needs.

InnoSpina designs and develops new motion-preserving and fusion technologies for spine disorders enabling medical practitioners and pain management specialists to treat chronic back pain.


These digital health companies also benefit from a large spectrum of service providers available in the Basel Area.

This year, a number of international IT companies chose the Basel Area to develop and provide solutions to their local customers in healthcare:

The Bulgarian firm BGO Software develops solutions for the research and healthcare sector.

US firm Axtria offers services for the life sciences industry in the field of cloud software and data

Zifo RnD Solutions has grown from its headquarters in Chennai, India, into a global organization to cater to the growing demand and requests for local support, it has created Zifo Switzerland AG based in Basel. “Basel is a fantastic place to do business and to collaborate. We have long-term and successful customer relationships in the region.” commented Co-founder and CEO Raj Prakash G.

The Basel Area shapes the future of health in Europe

With a focus on shaping the future of health, the DayOne Accelerator supports promising new digital health ventures that combine groundbreaking technologies, healthcare expertise and entrepreneurial spirit. Selected venture teams from across the globe receive coaching from experts and immersion in a dynamic ecosystem that includes potential customers and patients, as well as access to funding and innovation space.

The Basel Area wins you over with its quality of life

In 2018, Vas Narasimhan became CEO of pharmaceutical company Novartis. The American, his wife, and two sons have lived in Basel for more than ten years. In a recent interview published in “network mag”, Vas talked about his positive experience of living in Basel.

He commented: “Nestled in the heart of Europe, I’ve found that Basel is very internationally minded and open to newcomers.” And he added: “Switzerland is a great place to live, and I am very happy here. The landscape is breathtaking, and there is good social and healthcare infrastructure. The overall quality of life here is very high. There’s a lot to love!”

So why should you gravitate towards Basel?

Lucas Scherdel, Director of the Basel Area’s DayOne Accelerator commented: “For healthcare innovation and digital health, we believe that the Basel Area, with its high density of life sciences players in digital transformation, and its strong ecosystem of healthcare innovation, is the best environment for companies from abroad to open business and participate in our success. We can help them set up and settle their businesses in the area and to plug into the wealth of resources available in what is the largest and most dynamic healthcare hub in Europe.”

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