Editorials

The next big biotech deal

29.08.2014 15:09

Cilag, owned by Johnson & Johnson, has acquired the Swiss start-up Covagen – another success story for biotech in Switzerland.

Dear reader

Johnson & Johnson has 6,400 employees in Switzerland, making the pharmaceutical and consumer products company the second largest US-based employer in Switzerland – after McDonalds. The company does not make much of it and for this reason its latest acquisition in Switzerland took place without fuss this week. On Monday, J&J subsidiary Cilag took over the Swiss biotech start-up Covagen.

The purchase price has not been communicated, but startupticker has learned from various sources that an estimate of well over CHF200 million is not wrong. Thus, Covagen joins the large number of life sciences start-ups that have been sold successfully in recent years, such as Glycart, Esbatech, Okairos, Anteis, Endosense and Prionics.

The signs are good that this trend will continue; acquisition targets with revolutionary products are just as sought after as before. This was confirmed only this week with the publication of the Swiss Medical Technology Industry Report.

Swiss start-ups are also encountering interest from large companies in other industries too. At the second ABB Startup Day, 10 selected young entrepreneurs presented to some 30 representatives of various ABB business units and the corporate venture arm ABB Technology Ventures.

This week Go Beyond demonstrated how investors can earn good money with investment in young Swiss companies through hardware start-ups and smaller transaction volumes. Go Beyond investors have realised a 4x return in two years from the exit of Sensima Technology.

There was encouraging news this week not only of start-ups that have been sold, but also of very young companies. For example, medtech company Lunaphore, founded officially only this year, received a loan from the FIT Foundation and also won the second round of venture kick.

Investors whose interest has been aroused in the light of the success stories have the opportunity to meet eight equally promising young companies at Swiss Venture Day on 10 September.

In the coming week in Bern, the CTI Medtech Event takes place on Tuesday and SwissECS, a conference on energy and climate issues, is being held on Wednesday and Thursday – startupticker will be represented at both events. We look forward to some stimulating conversation.

Have a sunny weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Managing Editor, startupticker.ch

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