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The Austrian Biotechnology and Pharma Sector 2015

In recent decades, a lively scene of innovative biotechnology and pharma companies has put Austria on the European life science map. With their excellent skilled staff and their broad technical and scientific expertise, these companies can play a pivotal role in developing the medicine of the future.


  1. Biotech/Pharma – an economic factor
  2. Biotech Strengths
  3. Pharma Strengths
  4. Investments into the sector

Biotech/Pharma – an economic factor

The Austrian biotechnology and pharma industry is growing at a tremendous pace. New businesses are being set up on almost a monthly basis. All in all, the 336 biotechnology and pharma companies generated 11.65 billion euros of turnover in 2014. The portion of the primary companies was equally high as the portion of the supply, service and sales companies, namely in each case approximately 6 billion euros. In 2014, the staff employed by the biotechnology and pharma companies worked mainly in the primary companies: 18,480 of the 26,500 people earning their living in this field can be allocated to this category. The biotechnology sector in Austria has been thriving in recent years. In 2014, there were 116 companies occupied wholly or for the most part with biotechnology. This is a marked increase (+22%) compared to 2012, when only 95 companies in Austria were counted as ‘dedicated’ biotechnology companies according to the definition of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

175 companies belong to the so-called “Research, development and manufacturing companies”, that consist of “dedicated biotechnology companies”, “other biotechnology active” and “pharma comapnies”. In addition, 161 “Other companies” are defined as suppliers, service providers and sales companies.


Biotech Strengths

Globally, medical biotechnology represents the most important area of application for biotechnology, and this holds true for Austria as well. 77 of 116 dedicated biotech companies (66.4%) in the country operate in this field, developing new treatments in a wide range of different indications.

Biotechnology is an exceptionally research-intensive industry. Companies often have to spend millions of euros in research and development (R&D) before they can bring a product to the market. This is highlighted by the 143.6 million euros – 72.6% of turnover – invested in R&D by dedicated companies in 2014.

Pharma Strengths

Pharma companies traditionally focus on business models that are built on chemically synthesized molecules or natural compounds derived from plants or animals for human or veterinary use. In 2014, a total of 32 companies were acitve in the pharma sector in Austria – a slight increase compared to 2012 (29 companies). These companies provided jobs for 3,100 employees, a plus of 15% compared to 2012.

Investments into the sector

Funding totaling around 86.8 million euros flowed into the sector last year, including funds from venture capitalists, institutional and private investors, grants, loans and other contributions. Financing through the stock exchange in particular has caused the total to rise in the last two years.

Find more facts and figures in the Life Science Report Austria 2015.