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Medical history was written in the Austrian state of Tirol in 1951. This was where researchers discovered and produced the first acid-resistant penicillin. Today, around 190 million drug packages leave the pioneer’s plant each year, and the site is one of the largest manufacturers of antibiotics in the world. Austrian biotech companies are among the international leaders in the development of vaccines and new active pharmaceutical ingredients against life-threatening diseases. Their research rate is 21%.

Biotechnology is one of the "key technologies" and is one of the top growth sectors worldwide. Investments are also being made in Austria in this area in order to promote the development of biotech sites. 

Austrian companies in the biotech industry have their focus predominantly in red biotechnology, i.e. in the use in medicine and pharmaceuticals, and are concentrated on active pharmaceutical ingredients, diagnostics and new therapies. Austrian companies are also represented in the area of white biotechnology with products such as enzymes and food additives.

Austria is a central location for the area of European life sciences and is internationally recognised as an important source for medicines, technologies and services. The life science sector in Austria is very broad and incorporates small and large companies as well as a number of multinational corporations who have their headquarters or production sites here. 

The really astonishing factor in the area of life sciences in Austria is the high degree of collaboration between manufacturers, suppliers and service providers who are all located on a relatively small area, meaning that the results are indeed "Made in Austria".

Success factors

The excellence of the Austrian employees, the renowned outstanding quality of the Austrian education system and the top status of its research facilities and a great infrastructure are the fundamental factors for the life sciences in Austria. Throughout Austria, there are several science parks, business incubators and initiatives for technology transfer that guarantee the growth of the national industry and attract a large number of established multinational corporations.

Top research at Austrian universities is the most important source for technology transfer to young companies that are growing in numbers in the Austrian life science sector. The outstanding infrastructure and the proximity to the growing markets in the east offer ideal prerequisites for biotech companies in Austria. Scientific activities are concentrated in Vienna; this is where start-ups and established companies of the biotech industry are located. Together with the universities and research facilities, the existing potential in the area of life science can be exploited in the best possible way.

Strengths with future

Austria's strengths are to be found in particular in the research of new vaccines and medicinal products to treat illnesses that have been incurable up to date and to combat new pathogens and lethal infections.

Austrian companies carry out research in the area of the civilisation illnesses that are already known such as diabetes and cancer and develop medicinal products that meet the requirements of demographic change. 

As a result of the change in paradigms in the modern health industry, the focus will in future be on personalised medicine, which means that patients are to be treated in a targeted manner and thus the costs for health and treatment reduced.

Examples of developments

A Vienna-based company developed an immune therapy that is based on an antibody and has the orphan drug labelling for the treatment of a paediatric neuroblastoma. The therapy was developed together with an academic network that also includes the St. Anna Children's Cancer Research Institute in Vienna.

An Austrian biotechnology company supplies innovative, customised vaccines for the therapeutic treatment of chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Since 1909, carbon tablets from Austria have been known under the brand "Eucarbon" all over the world. In addition to continuous further development and improvement of the products, close collaboration with export partners and a commitment to teamwork are part of the producer's winning formula.

An internationally active family-run business with its registered office in Korneuburg, Austria has dedicated itself to the task of contributing to improving general well-being through the development, research and introduction of innovative products in the fields of aesthetic dermatology. The company is a global player and markets its products in 110 countries. 

A MedTech start-up with its registered office in Vienna developed an image analysis with which skin diseases can be examined via smartphone camera. The photos are compared with a database on the web; the aim is to reduce the number of patients in drug trials, reduce costs and accelerate the development of medicinal products.