Hessen is the hub
The biotech region Hessen is not only located right in the middle of Germany and Europe, but – via Frankfurt Airport – is also easy to reach from all other continents. The Rhine-Main area is one of strongest economic centers in Germany. The German Stock Exchange is in Frankfurt am Main. Various globally operating concerns in the pharmaceutical, chemical and medical technology sectors are headquartered in Hessen, which is also the base chosen by many global players for their German subsidiaries.
Here is an international environment where people of many different origins and cultures live and work. This makes Hessen an attractive place to live for people working in internationally operating companies.
All these factors combine to make Hessen a biotech hotspot.
Biotech hotspot Hessen – the figures speak for themselves
Hessen is a genuine heavyweight in the biotech industry. It houses about 225 biotech companies with approximately 20,000 employees, which generate an annual turnover of more than six billion euros.
A large part of the value creation comes from the large concerns in Hessen. On the other hand, the degree of networking between smaller and large companies in Hessen is very high. The chemical and pharmaceutical concerns with their long history of development often make use of biotech processes in alliance with small R&D-oriented companies.
Research and biotechnological progress in Hessen are initiated to a very large extent by companies: 83 percent of the biotechnology patents are from commercial firms. One in every five employees is engaged in R&D. Hessen, in relation to its entire population, can boast more applications for biotech patents than any of the other German non-city states.
Given the international environment of the Rhine-Main area, it is hardly surprising that more than half of all the biotechnology companies operating in Hessen have cooperation partners abroad. Cooperations with partners in North America are also frequent. At present, one in every four companies in Hessen is seeking access to the Asian markets.
A region for biotech producers
Hessen is a region for biotech producers. About one third of all German fermenter capacities for pharmaceutical production are in Hessen. Production is carried out in Frankfurt, Marburg and Hanau.
These resources are supplemented by additional fermenter capacities available in Frankfurt particularly for products in industrial biotechnology. This position has now been reinforced by the decision to construct more GMP cell culture plants in Frankfurt and Marburg and new production plants for industrial biotechnology in Zwingenberg.
Biotechnology – progress for medicine
The global players apart, it is mainly the many small companies, in their roles as service providers for contract research, production, consultancy or performance of clinical trials for drug authorization, which make up the quality of the region. The concentration and variety of pharmaco-biotechnology companies in Hessen, extending along the entire value creation chain, has no equal anywhere else in Europe. Taken all together, Hessian companies have more than 150 promising drug candidates in the pipeline. Over half of these potential drugs are already so-called “biologicals”.
Biotechnology – progress for industry
Industrial biotechnology has made enormous progress in recent years, thus gaining steadily in economic relevance. With its help, the manufacture of many – in particular chemical – products is becoming considerably easier and more cost-effective. Natural raw materials are used more efficiently, and materials in limited supply are being replaced by renewables. An above-average growth rate is forecast for industrial biotechnology; the part it plays in Hessen’s biotechnology as a whole has doubled to over 11 percent in the last five years.
In this context, industrial biotechnology companies in Hessen are linked up with important sectors. The major areas are chemistry and food production, followed by energy, health and textiles. In Hessen’s industrial biotechnology, there is a definite focus on uses for production of materials rather than for generation of energy.
Hessen is thus not only one of the leading industrial biotechnology regions in Germany but also a cluster with magnetic attraction for all of Europe. This is not the least of the reasons why the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) specifically made funds available for the Frankfurt Cluster for Integrated Bioindustry (CIB) with its focus on fine and specialty chemistry.
Hessen – a good nurturing ground biotech
Biotechnology is the area in which a high-power university landscape has developed in Hessen, offering the best possible framework for successful cooperation between science and the economy. Students from throughout the world are being prepared for the challenges in the spheres of commerce and research at the biology, chemistry, pharmacy and physics faculties of numerous universities, technical universities and universities of applied sciences, or at research and teaching institutes funded either by the state or by the business world.
In basic research, renowned facilities such as the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, the MPI for Physiological and Clinical Research in Bad Nauheim, the MPI for Brain Research and the MPI for Biophysics in Frankfurt are setting new standards in international research.
A decisive role along the path to authorization for – among other things – gene therapy methods, plasma products or vaccines is played by the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Langen. It carries out research of its own in these fields and participates in the establishment of international standards.
To bring Hessen’s research landscape into still clearer profile, the State of Hessen has founded the research promotion program LOEWE. This gives universities and research facilities an opportunity to initiate promising new activities and centers and to develop these to international excellence. Hessen will spend more than 195 million euros here over the next few years.
This brings out clearly the significance of the Life Sciences in Hessen, since most of the projects selected up to now come from this area. Thus, for example, a new research center for synthetic microbiology is being developed by the University of Marburg jointly with the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology.
An environment tailored to biotechnology
Biotechnology activities in Hessen are clustered around two regional centers. Commercial industrial parks as well as technology centers provide ideal working environments in which all companies can develop.
The Frankfurt-Höchst Industrial Park is one of most important biotechnology locations in Europe, with over 90 companies based there. About 22,000 people work on a 460 hectare site, 4,000 of them in research and development. The Behring Works as a biotech center in Marburg is designed specifically for companies in the areas of pharmacy, biotechnology and health. In recent years, however, the Industrial Parks in Frankfurt, Offenbach, Wiesbaden, Griesheim and Hanau have developed into high-tech locations, all clearly positioned with special focuses of their own.
Two Technology and Innovation Centers – the FIZ in Frankfurt and the TIG in Giessen – offer young and established Life Science companies an ideal infrastructure with specifically designed office and laboratory space in the immediate vicinity of the scientific faculties of the universities and the Max Planck Institutes.
Joining forces for greater success
Biotechnology companies in Hessen do not only provide sectors like pharmacy, medical technology or the chemical industry with key technologies but are also networked with one another in a great number of cooperations.
Hessen supports the wish for cooperations and knowledge transfer within the sector. The Transfer activities between science and business are channeled and marketed by the TechnologyTransferNetwork (TTN) Hessen. The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Hessen offers assistance with the search for cooperation partners and provides information on EU research programs.
With Science4Life, the State of Hessen in cooperation with Sanofi-Aventis has set a national standard with its country-wide competition for founders in the field of Life Sciences and chemistry. This initiative has the active support of more than 100 companies and institutions. In this way, Science4Life has established itself in the high-tech founder scene as a contact point for all questions concerned with the founding of a company.