In a constantly changing and evolving life science landscape, one thing that remains a constant is the roaring furnace of the DACH countries’ biopharma and medtech industry. As regulations change, and the global marketplace shifts, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria’s appetite for research continues to grow. As the Outsourcing in Clinical Trials series train pulls into town with the launch of OCT DACH in Zurich in October, one is compelled to take a closer look at the workings of this central engine.

The first thing that stands out here is the volume of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies with their roots in DACH – three of the world’s pharma behemoths are headquartered here: Bayer, Roche, and Novartis. And the rest of the world are keen to get in on the action as well, with U.S. monster J&J dropping a cool $30 billion on Swiss player Actelion at the end of 2017, MSD picking up German biotech Rigontec for half a billion Euros, despite very little pipeline progression, such is the promise of the space here, and French multi-national Sanofi set to invest €40 million in a new research site in Germany.

It is not just on the big pharma side that DACH is a world leader: small and mid-size organizations are rife across the landscape here. Switzerland and Germany are at number six and number two respectively in Europe’s top 10 countries for biopharma activity. Additionally, Munich, Berlin, Zurich, and Vienna make up four of the top 10 city biotech hubs for the entire continent – there are 365 life science companies headquartered in the greater Zurich area alone.

On any measure of clinical trial activity, DACH punches well above its population and land-mass weight, on a global scale – a simple search of recruiting trial sites and registered trials across the three countries yields results numbering in the thousands. Germany, the largest of the three, is home to a whopping 7 percent of the world’s clinical trials, and is the second largest market globally for medical devices – this is despite having only two of the top 10 largest medtech firms; a statistic that points clearly to small and mid-size innovative companies.

This fire of innovation is stoked by enthusiastic governments who have invested heavily in financial grants and incentives for life science development, alongside high-quality health care services and facilities across all three countries, with advanced hospitals and university research centers providing excellent facilities for trials.

All this activity at home is combined with DACH’s role as a central European gateway to wider clinical trial opportunities across Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and the rest of Eastern Europe, as well as Germany’s border with Denmark, which links it closely to the blooming biotech and medtech market of Scandinavia with its similarly pro-research state incentives, and well-aligned health care system.

With such a winning combination of established and emerging biopharma, based in a region so conducive to clinical research, it is hardly a surprise that OCT DACH is already proving one of the most popular events on the 2018 schedule – see to learn more, and contact me at or on +44 207 936 6690 to find out how you can join the event.



1. The European Medical Technology industry –

2. Austrian Medicines and Medical Devices Agency –

3. Labiotech, Happy 2018, Here Are the Top 9 European Biotech Companies To Watch

4. Labiotech, These are 10 of the Hottest Biotech Hubs in Europe

5. GEN, Top 10 European Biopharma Clusters

6. Greater Zurich Area, Life Sciences: Strong in Switzerland