Bavarian biotechnology on course for growth

BioM publishes “Bavarian Biotech Report 2021/22” at the “FORUM Science & Health” conference

The network organization BioM Biotech Cluster Management GmbH invited to the third interdisciplinary conference FORUM Science & Health on July 05 and 06, 2022 to discuss the future of medicine with 200 guests from politics, biotech and pharma as well as high-ranking speakers from research, clinical and biotech industry. At the press conference, the latest figures and developments of the new “Bavarian Biotech Report 2021/22” were presented. Overall, the biotechnology industry continues to be dynamic in terms of start-ups and financing and stable as a major employer in Bavaria.

In its new report Biotech in Bavaria 2021/22, BioM has analyzed the developments and achievements of the Bavarian biotechnology sector. The report shows a steady increase in small and medium-sized biotechnology companies, especially in the field of therapeutics development, a stable employment high, and continued strong start-up dynamics. In drug development, oncology continues to dominate, followed by autoimmune diseases. Numerous companies were able to raise new capital in the single and double-digit million range (totaling almost 400 million euros). The establishment of 13 new biotech companies and the settlement of US vaccine manufacturer Moderna confirm Bavaria as an important biotechnology location with global competitiveness.

Employment high
Together, the pharmaceutical, biotech and other companies assigned to the sector employ around 44,000 people in Bavaria with a slight shift from the pharmaceutical sector to biotech and other companies assigned to the sector. With a total of 22,000 employees, the 289 (+ 5%) biotech companies are the most important employers in the sector. This represents an increase of 1,000 employees compared to the previous year. International companies employed a total of 15,000 people at their sites (+ 7%), while small and medium-sized Bavarian biotech companies remained stable in terms of employment.

Strong start-up momentum continues
Bavaria is particularly characterized by its start-up-friendly ecosystem. In 2021, a total of 13 new companies were recorded, in addition to a new settlement of the American vaccine manufacturer Moderna in Munich. In the region, founders find a strong network of supporting organizations. BioM, for example, has also been able to help a large number of entrepreneurs to successful start-ups with the virtual incubator inQlab.

Oncology remains most important indication in drug development
The Bavarian biotech landscape is traditionally strongly characterized by drug developers. These are long-term research and development projects that follow a lengthy process from the initial identification of a drug candidate through preclinical and clinical studies to approval. The Bavarian industry has an impressive pipeline of projects that are in the preclinical phase (41) or even in the clinical phase (118). A total of 37 products are currently in clinical phase I, 53 in phase II and 28 in phase III. As in previous years, cancer therapeutics account for the largest share of compounds in clinical development with a total of 56 projects, followed by therapeutics for autoimmune diseases with 14 projects. As is the case throughout Germany, the product pipeline in Bavaria is dominated by biopharmaceuticals and here by the active ingredient group of recombinant antibodies. The impact of the global coronavirus pandemic is also becoming apparent, with many therapeutics and diagnostics companies converting or expanding their programs to combat COVID-19. University research groups have contributed to a better understanding of the coronavirus and its properties through their work, providing valuable groundwork for future developments.

Financing climate, deals and collaborations
In economic terms, the year 2021 was still dominated by the global pandemic. However, the approval of various vaccines and the resulting tailwind for the industry certainly had a positive effect. Bavarian companies presented very encouraging business figures last year, and numerous financing rounds were again successfully concluded. In particular, several follow-up financings on a substantial scale clearly show that many of the companies are on a promising path to commercially viable products. Numerous companies were able to raise new capital in the single and double-digit million range. In total, Bavarian companies were able to raise almost 400 million in capital last year. This continues the positive trend of recent years, in which companies have recently been able to achieve record figures. In 2021, there was a strong desire for collaborations between biotechnology companies. The extent of these collaborations varied widely, from exchanging technologies, licensing provision of research and production capacities to billion-dollar acquisitions.

Bavaria’s clout against COVID-19
Biotechnology is at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. From day one, numerous Bavarian companies and research teams have been driving innovative research in the development of test systems, vaccine candidates and drugs – with many positive results. In addition to the successful development of a wide variety of test systems, there is a broad spectrum of excellent approaches to COVID-19 therapeutics in Bavaria. Twenty-two outstanding Bavarian therapeutic concepts were submitted as part of the 50 million euros BayTherapie2020 program. A total of five companies received funding.

Biotech in Bavaria – A quarter century of success: 25 years of BioM and Munich Biotech Cluster
The overall development of the industry since its foundation is shown by the review of the success story “25 years of BioM and Munich Biotech Cluster”. With the support of the Biotech Cluster Management Organization, the life science region has developed into one of the most successful biotech clusters in Europe. The Bavarian Biotech Report highlights this success story and other topics in interviews with various players and their perspectives on the industry.

From research to the market
Pioneering developments for a medicine of the future were presented at the FORUM Science & Health. The congress was organized for the third time by BioM on behalf of the StMWi. On behalf of the StMWi, Dr. Ulrike Wolf, Ministerial Director at the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy (StMWi) welcomed the audience and the nearly 60 high-ranking speakers, including Prof. emerit. Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, father of the Munich Gene Center, Prof. Heyo Krömer, Chief Executive Officer of Charité Berlin and Prof. Patrick Cramer, Acting Director at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Natural Sciences in Göttingen, and congratulated Prof. Cramer on behalf of the Bavarian State Government on his recent election as the new President of the important Max Planck Society. She praised the congress as an important meeting point for science and industry in the field of biotechnology: “Over the next two days, the latest developments in innovative technologies and therapeutics will be presented here. What we can see here will have a major impact on how diseases are diagnosed and treated in the future, not to mention how they can be prevented.”

The FORUM Science & Health is the interdisciplinary meeting place in Bavaria for anyone interested in life science and biotechnology, bringing together players from the fields of biotechnology, medicine, nutrition, medical technology and digitalization to provide new impetus for future-oriented integrated medicine. Various formats were used to provide information about current developments in the industry, new technologies, groundbreaking findings and topics in health research.

Bavaria’s Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Roland Weigert underlined the importance of the congress in his digital greeting and highlighted the innovative power of Bavaria as a business location: “The FORUM Science & Health is the meeting place for Bavaria’s players from life science, biotech, digitalization, medicine and medical technology. It offers excellent opportunities for the exchange of ideas, networking and intensive discussion of new technologies and findings in medical research. Bavaria is a highly attractive region for innovations and productive collaborations between business, science and research. Our goal is to vigorously promote new trends and groundbreaking innovations for the medicine of the future.”

Presentations highlighted the potential of mRNA for diagnostics and therapies, discussed the possibilities of Big Data for high-throughput screening procedures, for example, and presented nanotechnologies in use for drug development and diagnostics. The panel discussion on Day 2 provided an outlook on how a medicine of the future can protect against future health threats: Innovative approaches to combat antibiotic resistance, different therapeutic COVID-19 approaches to efficiently fight infection, and the impact of lifestyle adaptations and changing environmental conditions for healthy living.