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Austria: Hot Spot for Life Sciences Companies

Austria’s life sciences scene is flourishing. 823 companies accounted for revenue of EUR 19.1 billion in 2014, comprising a rise of 7.8% within just two years. Vienna in particular is a top location. More than every second Austrian firm in the field of life sciences is represented in the country’s capital city. All in all, they generated revenue of close to EUR 10 billion in Vienna in 2014.

In addition to established multinationals such as Boehringer Ingelheim and Novartis, research-based startups are increasingly present in the Austrian capital. 30 life sciences companies were founded in 2013 and 2014. Above all, academic institutions such as the

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences and the Vienna University of Technology have proven to be veritable incubators spawning numerous spin-offs. One example is the biotech company Haplogen, a spin-off of the Research Center for Molecular Medicine, which focuses on researching into drugs designed to combat infectious viral diseases. 

The entrepreneurial potential of these young companies has not gone unnoticed by the major players. Several startups have already been targeted by pharmaceutical giants, concluding megadeals worth several million euros. Examples include the Vienna research company Apeiron developing innovative projects in the field of immuno-oncology and the diabetes app mySugr.

In addition to such business partnerships, the high research intensity characterizing the life sciences sector also promotes the close cooperation between the private sector and the scientific community. In this regard, companies can draw upon abundant resources. 55 research facilities employ close to 20,000 people. In particular, the Vienna Biocenter has emerged as a top address for life sciences in Central Europe.

In the light of the high level of research expenditures in the life sciences sector, research-oriented companies benefit from consulting and financial grants provided by the priority program “aws LISA – Life Science Austria“ of the state funding bank Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft as well as the current research tax credit of 12% which will be raised to 14% starting in 2018.

Dedicated biotech companies alone devoted 73% of their revenue or EUR 143.6 million to research and development in the year 2014, an increase of 9% from the comparable figure of 2012. This dynamic development is expected to continue in the future. Accordingly, the life science platform LISAvienna not only provides consulting to companies on issues such as financing or locating business operations but also represents the interests of the sector to the outside world.  

Friedrich Schmidl

Director Northern Germany, Life Sciences
+43-1-588 58-22

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