The Swiss biotech ecosystem suffers from a “weak public market”, said Francesco de Rubertis, a cofounder at Medicxi Ventures. Despite this, De Rubertis and other experts at the recently concluded Swiss Biotech Day conference, anticipated an improvement in the investment market in the months to come.

The conference, held in Basel 22–23 April, gathered experts from around the world to discuss trends in the pharmaceutical sector. At the “Decoding Swiss Biotech – the Investors perspective” session, panellists highlighted changes in the investment market and shared predictions for 2024 and onwards.

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Nicholas Riddle, the managing director of healthcare investment banking at JP Morgan, forecasts an uptick in the number of pharmaceutical initial public offerings in Europe this year. Riddle added, “It has been a pretty terrible time for private companies in the last several years. However, we are starting to see a bit more engagement from both European funds, who have actually been pretty active in recent years, but also from a number of big brands from the US.”

When asked about the comparative lack of large independent biotechs in Switzerland compared to markets like the US, De Rubertis said that “public markets are more developed in other countries.” He said that is much easier for early-stage Swiss biotechs to find support from early-stage venture capitalists than from the public markets, causing some businesses to pivot to the US.

The Swiss Biotech Association’s 2023 Swiss Biotech Report found that only one Swiss Biotech company entered the public market in 2023—the ophthalmology company Oculis. Furthermore, the public company chose to list on NASDAQ rather than the Swiss stock exchange.

De Rubis said that the country “needs more robust and deeper public markets.” However, Patrik Amstutz, the president of the board of directors at the Swiss Biotech Association, approached the landscape from a more optimistic perspective, labelling it as a success for Swiss biotechs regardless of whether that happensin the US or Swiss markets. “We have to face the fact that if you are a biotech launching a product, it will be in the US first,” he said.