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Vienna Continues to Boom as a Life Science Center

As recently as 2021, German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim opened a new biotech production facility in the Austrian capital, committing to a EUR 700 million investment that also generated 500 new jobs. And 2022 brought a fresh round of investment from the global giant when the groundbreaking ceremony for a new research building took place earlier in July. In all, EUR 60 million will be poured into expanding its cancer research activities in Vienna. Around 150 employees will work at the center in future.

Takeda: Japanese Investment in Vienna

Boehringer Ingelheim is not the only company currently making major investments in the Austrian capital. Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda – with 4,500 employees, the single largest pharmaceutical employer in Austria – is also expanding its Vienna operations after decades in the country. A new EUR 120 million building, scheduled for completion by 2025, will serve as a research and development center for biotech drugs. Around 250 researchers will work on groundbreaking new drugs at the facility once it is up and running. Located in Seestadt Aspern in Vienna’s 22nd district , the building will be among a new crop of additions to this special part of the city, which is fast becoming a center for the life sciences in its own right.

Smart Hotspot

Seestadt Aspern is one of the largest urban development areas in Europe. Entirely given over to the principles of smart city design and urban innovation, it is also blazing a trail in terms of research and development. Takeda is in good company in Seestadt Aspern, where successful Austrian pharmaceutical company Hookipa – which specializes in immunotherapies to treat cancer and infectious diseases – has committed to an equally large investment project. Currently, a new 4,500-square-meter production building including quality control lab and office space is being built in Aspern. The Vienna-based, Nasdaq-listed company will create up to 100 new jobs. All of these developments underscore the fact that Vienna is the nation’s most important life science location by a considerable margin – and it is an area which is growing in importance for the capital all the time.

Life Science Central

Of the nearly 1,000 life science companies and institutions in Austria – representing various scientific fields including biotech, medical technology and pharmaceuticals – almost half are located in Vienna. Together they employ around 41,000 people, generating about EUR 13.3 billion for the Viennese economy in 2020. One of the key factors behind their decision to settle in the city is the overall attractiveness of the location: famously, the Austrian capital is a concentrated center of expertise – and young talents. Over 42,000 students and more than 8,000 publications in peer-reviewed journals attest to the strong track record of Vienna's life sciences sector. This fuels a virtuous circle: most of the 20 global market leaders have a strategic presence in the Vienna region. And Vienna's life science industry has an enormous capacity for innovation, with around 40 percent of life science companies carrying out research and development or manufacturing their products in the city. Together, these companies invested around EUR 850 million in research and development alone in 2020.

Vienna – Promoting and Supporting Life Sciences

None of this came about by chance: this enduring success story was made possible thanks to the consistent backing of the authorities. Today, numerous sources of support are available: regional clusters such as LISAvienna – a joint initiative of the Vienna Business Agency and the Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws) to promote the life science industry in the capital – are a vital source of support for companies. Set up in 2002, LISAvienna has seen witnessed various successes in its 20-year history. In addition to welcoming countless companies that have relocated, between ten and 20 new life science ventures  are founded in Vienna every year. Among them are specialist start-ups focusing on various innovative projects ranging from drug development and digital health applications to in vitro diagnostics and implantable medical devices. Time and again, LISAvienna has proven to be a key partner to all of these ventures, providing important guidance and support as it continues to add to Vienna’s strengths as a location for the life sciences.

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