Biotech is driving innovation and will bring some of the hottest technology of the future. To help those trying to pick one of the many biotech hubs in Europe, we’ve compiled a list of where some of the most exciting companies are.
Currently, biotech is one of the biggest employers in Europe. Whether you love big cities full of opportunities or quiet towns where to find inspiration for your project, there’s a place in Europe for you.
Most of the coolest companies tend to cluster together in biotech hubs teeming with expert leaders, rapidly growing companies and top-notch research. If you’re wondering where to find them, here is a list of 10 of the hottest biotech hubs we found in Europe this year. The cities are ordered alphabetically so nobody gets jealous!
Amsterdam has been hailed as the happiest place to live and work, so no wonder why many biotechs have decided to settle down in this beautiful city. The famous canals host UniQure, the first company to launch a gene therapy in the global market, although it is now struggling to keep afloat. Arthrogen has also stepped in the gene therapy field developing therapies for rheumatoid arthritis.
The city seems to be a big cluster of oncology companies, such as AIMM Therapeutics, Kiadis Pharma, ORCA Therapeutics, ThromboDx, Qameleon Therapeutics and UbiQ Bio.
Other cool companies in Amsterdam include Griffin Discoveries, which develops GPCR drugs, a hot target in biotech that makes up 30% of approved drugs. In the same building complex, Microbiome develops molecular microbiology techniques, while Winclove Probiotics uses these tiny organisms to produce food supplements. Want to know more?
Berlin is a city full of life and well-connected thanks to its prime location at the heart of Europe; among all these biotech hubs, this is definitely the place to be!
Protein technologies seem to be trending here, with companies like JPT, Glycotope or Caprotech. Meanwhile, biofuel companies group in the south, like Solaga and Algenol, which produce biogas using bacteria and algae, respectively.
Both Noxxon Pharma and Mologen work in immuno-oncology, which is revolutionizing cancer treatments. Epigenomics is also doing its bit with a non-invasive cancer test. Find more details and other cool companies from Berlin here.
Copenhagen is a paradise for fans of sustainability, but also for biopharma. One of the best companies in this coastal city is Genmab, a billion euro biotech developing antibody therapies against HIV and cancer. Also in the antibody field is Leo Pharma, which is revolutionizing dermatology with antibody therapies.
Oncology is also big in Copenhagen: not far from the beautiful Fælledparken, Nuevolution develops cancer drugs using a unique DNA barcode technology. DanDrit, IO Biotech, and Bavarian Nordic work in cancer vaccines, while EpiTherapeutics addresses the complex area of enzyme regulation in tumors.
For a totally different but really cool area, Ascendis Pharma is working on innovative drug delivery that could reduce dosing frequency up to every 6 months. Have a look at our Copenhagen list for more info!
Everyone visiting Edinburgh agrees that it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. In summer, music festivals fill the scene, who wouldn’t want to settle down here?
Biofuel companies like Ingenza and Celtic Renewables decided to do so. Stem cell technology is also trending here with Censo Biotechnologies, a spin-out of the Roslin Institute behind the famous clone Dolly the sheep.
There’s also Nucana, working in cancer, and R Biomedical, which focuses on regenerative medicine. For more cool biotechs in Scotland, check out this post.
The UK’s golden triangle counts with some of the best Biotech leaders and is teeming with top-level research institutions and cool biotechs. Though the high prices might deter companies from coming to London, the capital makes up for it with innumerable opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Needle-free glucose monitoring is one of London’s unique strengths: GlucoSense and MediWise are both developing portable devices for diabetes management.
Desktop Genetics is getting plenty of attention thanks to its online service to design CRISPR gene editing for cancer therapies. In fact, Silence Therapeutics, developing RNAi therapy, just got hold of the CRISPR technology for its next therapies.
Cell and gene therapy are also prominent in the capital with Catapult, Cell Medica, and Orchard Therapeutics. Finally, Bento Bio has developed a very cool portable biolab. Of course, there’s plenty more biotechs, some of which you can find here.
Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France, so the choice is clear for all the biotech gourmets out there when looking for a place to base their company. The city is one of the most important biotech hubs for infectious disease, with companies like Imaxio fighting malaria, Fab’entech against influenza and ebola or Enyo Pharma treating hepatitis B.
As one would expect from a city where food is so important, treating diabetes type 2 is the objective of several companies from Lyon, such as Poxel and Alizé Pharma I. The biggest biotech here, Adocia, is working in an ultra-fast acting insulin in partnership with Eli Lilly.
Oncology is also the target of many biotechs from Lyon: Erytech uses a very innovative approach with red blood cells as cancer drug carriers, while APCure approaches cancer therapy using a bacterial platform and Orega with checkpoint inhibitors. Check out these and many more cool Lyon biotechs here.
Munich has a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, but it’s by no means a lazy place. Rather, some of the best biotech entrepreneurs and investors in Europe are based here. Could it be the top quality beer the reason attracting them all?
MorphoSys is the greatest success story from Munich: the billion-euro biotech develops antibody therapies and has a candidate in its pipeline that could outperform the top-selling drug. Other companies working in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases are 4SC, SuppreMol and ConoGenetics.
Wilex, near the city center, is a leader in antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), a technology that could outperform the hyped CAR-T technology. Focusing on cancer, there’s also XVir Therapeutics and Medigene.
Although most people don’t know this, Paris is actually one of the best biotech hubs in Europe and one of the biggest company clusters.
One of Paris’ stars is Cellectis, which became famous when its CAR-T treatment saved a 1-year old girl from leukemia. Meanwhile, Enterome is using microbiomics as a whole different approach to immuno-oncology.
Abivax is one of the companies in the world closer to an HIV cure. NeoVacs is developing what could also be a huge feat: vaccines for lupus and diabetes type 1. DBV Technologies works in another revolutionary vaccine, in its case for peanut allergy. There’s plenty more cool companies that you can find out about here!
You won’t find a place with more cultural life than Vienna. If you love fancy cafes and classical music, this is the place to look for a biotech job.
In this historical place, vaccines seem to be one of the hottest fields: Hookipa is working on an exceptionally strong vaccine against HPV, AFFiRis on vaccines for cardiometabolic and neurodegenerative diseases and Themis on a vaccine for zika
Another big thing here is fighting infections: Nabriva develops novel antibiotics for multi-drug resistant pathogens causing pneumonia, while Arsanis fights S. Aureus infections in hospitals using antibodies.
In the trending immuno-oncology field, Apeiron and Activartis are earning themselves a name. For more details and companies, check this out.
Living in Zurich on a budget can be tough since it has been ranked the most expensive city in Europe. However, its narrow streets and beautiful architecture will find a place in your heart.
The city hosts ETH Zurich, one of the top 10 Universities in the world. Many successful companies are spin-outs from ETHZ, such as Memo developing antibodies, Redbiotec producing vaccines for herpes influenza and hCMV, and Kuros creating surgical sealants.
G7 Therapeutics is another company doing well: it was just bought by Heptares in the UK and will soon become Heptares Zurich. It focuses on GPCR drugs, which take up 30% of the drug market. Find more details about these and other biotechs in Zurich here.
That’s it! What do you think? Do you know of other biotech hubs or companies in Europe that deserve to be on this list?
Featured image by Jan_S/shutterstock.com; pictures by Mareandmare; Nattee Chalermtiragool; Vladimir Mucibabic; Ulmus Media; ARRRSSS; Marco Saracco; Valentina Photo; Fab drone; Canadastock; Milosk50/shutterstock.com