How is Switzerland's life sciences market responding to COVID-19

Posting date: 03 June 2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 is an opportunity for Switzerland's life sciences market to deliver the world the one thing that it’s crying out for right now – a vaccine. Researchers at the University of Bern are working around the clock to become the first to produce a vaccine and have delivered the ambitious goal of immunising 100% of the Swiss population against the virus by October.

 

Other large biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland are proving determined to find a vaccine, as smaller enterprises rely on the nation to provide economic relief packages which will help them survive the virus. While it’s uncertain what the long-term impacts of COVID-19 will be, there are two outcomes of the pandemic that are hard to ignore – innovation and collaboration. Read on to find out how Switzerland’s life sciences market is responding to Covid-19.

 

Where the action is happening

Switzerland has long been known as an innovative nation and the dynamic life sciences sector is what attracts so many key players in the global market to establish headquarters or run operations on its soil. In Basel alone, there are 700 life sciences companies, employing 33,900 employees who produce goods and services valued at a staggering $405 million each hour. Despite Basel being known as Switzerland’s hub of life sciences, it’s companies in the capital city, Zurich, and nearby town, Bern, who are showcasing the most promising developments towards a Covid-19 vaccine.

 

Swapping Swiss chocolate for antibodies

The Swiss biotechnology sector has seen continued growth over the past several decades and just last year 19 biotech companies were established in the country. Though the pandemic may have stopped most of the world in its tracks – causing many people to learn how to be productive when working from home - that’s not the case for biotechnology companies who have instead reallocated their resources in the race to create a vaccination. One Swiss biotech in particular – Memo Therapeutics – are screening healthy participants who have recovered from a strong bout of COVID-10 and repaying them in Swiss chocolate. MEMO is a recognised leader in antibody discovery and is using these proteins which are extracted from recovered patients to develop a vaccine as well as to help create therapies.

 

A global collaboration

The Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator was initiated by the Gates Foundation in an effort to combine the expertise and facilities of life sciences companies around the globe. The CEO of Novartis – a Swiss pharmaceutical giant – has stepped up to co-chair this group of 15 companies to ensure seamless collaboration. The newly-established group recognise that sharing their ‘proprietary libraries of molecular compounds’ will accelerate the progress in identifying a suitable compound meaning that the in vivo trials could be running within two months. This global alliance between life sciences companies may see a vaccination reach the population sooner than imagined and could be the future of faster drug discovery.

 

Novartis is also dedicating time to understanding the severe life-threatening complications that Covid-19 can present. Their ongoing trial, CAN-COVID, has progressed to Phase III clinical trials and is enrolling participants across Europe with the hopes to develop a therapy which increases the survival rate for those who contract the virus.

 

A forward-thinking approach

According to Swiss Life Sciences' 2020 Trend Analysis, the nation is home to 1,885 life sciences companies, one of them being Neurimmune. This biopharmaceutical company is also working on a Covid-19 therapy and is at the development stage for an antibody-based treatment that will be administered directly to the lungs. This forward-thinking approach to therapeutics could dramatically reduce the damage that coronavirus has on the lungs, therefore improving patient recovery and lowering the mortality rate.

 

An alternative to a vaccination

Global health experts predict that a vaccination won’t be delivered until early 2021 but that has not stopped Swiss biopharmaceutical company Molecular Partners from developing an innovative response to the virus. Rather than formulating a medicine that provides the body with immunisation to Covid-19, they’re working towards creating a class of protein therapeutics known as DARPin which will act as inhibitors that prevent the virus from entering the human cell. This approach would limit the potential of the human population developing resistance to a vaccination and could be an essential treatment to eradicate coronavirus.

 

A steady recovery

In 2019, the combined biotech, pharmaceuticals and chemical industries in Switzerland employed over 50,000 people and contributed to 40% of the nation’s exports. Though the global health emergency initiated an economic downturn in sectors across the world, the displays of innovation and collaboration in recent months ensure that Switzerland’s life sciences market will remain competitive into the future.

 

Swisslinx is here to help

Our team of consultants at Swisslinx are keeping abreast of new developments in the life sciences market meaning that we’re best placed to provide industry advice. Read how Switzerland is responding to Covid-19 and find out what we’re doing to support our clients and candidates. If you’re looking for fresh life sciences talent, Contact us and a member of the Swisslinx team will be in touch to discuss your recruitment needs.

How a recruitment consultancy can add value in a new world

How a recruitment consultancy can add value in a new world The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed how companies attract, recruit and retain new employees. Businesses around the globe have swiftly embraced remote working. While there are huge benefits of in-person meetings, it’s difficult to ignore that many businesses have thrived working remote. For recruitment consultancies in Switzerland, they’ve had to adapt to a new way of hiring. The recruitment industry has entered a new era defined by flexibility and the increasing use of technology. In a post-COVID world, recruitment consultants will be high in demand for their expertise, but the landscape has changed, paving the way for a range of challenges. So, how can recruiters continue to add value to clients and candidates? Dedicated, relevant expertise One of the major benefits of using a recruitment consultancy is that they provide staffing solutions for businesses across a range of different sectors, and they remain up-to-date with market trends, which includes recruiting during this challenging time. For example, at Swisslinx, we’re able to give our clients an overview of the market, helping them to plan their recruiting and ensure they only hire the best candidates. Right now, it’s all the more important that job specifications are in line with the market. Recruiters can provide consultancy around job specs, offer sector expertise and engage passive talent using platforms like LinkedIn. With businesses receiving a strong push into the world of virtual working, recruiters have been forced to provide their expertise virtually. This means recruitment consultancies, like Swisslinx, have been able to connect with people more efficiently and build strong and lasting relationships. Streamlined process There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated the rise of technology. With in-person contact limited, businesses will need to become more agile and innovate fast, to thrive in this competitive environment. However, the recruitment process can still be a long and daunting task for many businesses, despite the new tools available. One of the most desirable attributes of a recruitment consultancy is they can streamline the whole process, from CVs and interviews to talent community building. While the lack of in-person meetings with clients and candidates can be a challenge, video interviews can take place anywhere. In the future, there’s likely to be advanced recruitment tools to facilitate virtual meetings, so that all the information can be stored and analysed in one place. Hiring in a new world The current uncertainty around the employment landscape means that businesses will need to adopt a strategic mindset to attract the right type of candidates. One of the ways recruitment consultancies can add value in this area is by helping companies make their hiring much more targeted. Recruiting in a particular niche area has become essential in recent years, but with more candidates on the market, it’s much harder to find suitable candidates. At Swisslinx, we focus on recruitment markets such as financial services, technology, science and engineering across many sectors, which enables us to provide tailored solutions to our clients. There’s no doubt the future of recruitment will be more personalised and holistic and tailored to the specific needs of clients. Let Swisslinx help your business The pandemic has had a huge impact on the recruitment sector. At Swisslinx, we’ve always had a strong value proposition and an excellent track record of building excellent relationships with clients and candidates. As we progress through the year, our consultants will remain on hand to provide companies in Switzerland with the best recruitment expertise. Our team have years of experience in recruiting the most in-demand companies and we always take the time to understand the needs of every business. Contact us today if you need help finding the top candidates and take a further look at our insights page for more engaging articles.

READ MORE

A breakdown of the most in-demand skills for finance professionals

It’s no secret that financial services can be a demanding career path. It’s a broad industry with a range of different specialisms, including planning, advising and asset management. A successful career in finance requires discipline, education and well-developed skills. With so much variety, it’s important to scrutinise which career path matches your skill set. Finance professionals need to prepare themselves for the future and always look to upskill at every opportunity to stay relevant in a competitive job market. If you’re committed to a career in finance, here are the skills you need to master.   Analysis Finance professionals must have excellent analytical skills. Regardless of the role, employers will always be looking for evidence of analytical ability in different applications. Finance analysts need to be able to understand large volumes of data and find a solution to various problems, such as finding out the ideal equity investment. To solve such problems, finance professionals need to be able to analyse reports, relevant data points and pricing information. Then there’s also the interpersonal skills needed to communicate this information with finance managers to ensure decisions can be made. The ability to communicate findings effectively is the key to success as a finance professional.   Data management Data has become increasingly important for businesses when it comes to improving forecasts, making strategic decisions, and reducing costs. A lack of sufficient data management can lead to data quality problems and inconsistent findings that can affect a business’ bottom line. Therefore, finance professionals who understand how to utilise and manage data remain high in-demand. As finance teams evolve, they need to be able to adapt and be confident using cloud-based software to manage data. With many financial institutions moving away from traditional spreadsheets, professionals looking to grow their career must understand the benefits of streamlined data management. Data in the cloud saves time and provides companies with much more agility. The growth of digital technology in the financial sector means that the next generation of finance professionals must be more data-driven than ever before.   Critical-thinking It's important that finance professionals possess critical-thinking skills. In the volatile finance world, companies need to continue making big investments to remain competitive. As a result, professionals who are able to think critically will be an asset. Critical thinking skills are highly desired at any company, as they can be applied to any situation that calls for analysis and planning. In finance, the ability to evaluate facts and information to form a judgement has become crucial, especially with the rise of emerging trends like big data, AI, and blockchain, all of which have transformed procedures. Finance professionals that master critical thinking are able to find solutions and manage different challenges much more efficiently.   Technical accounting <!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--> <!--[endif]--> Throughout the course of a working day, finance professionals will use a range of technical skills, such as preparing statements and recording transactions. These day-to-day tasks are very important for business operations, so professionals must have a strong understanding of all the different phases of accounting. And since the cross-border finance market is in a strong position in Switzerland, the demand for technical accounting skills is only going to grow in the future. Talented accountants who are proficient in verifying balances and analysing cash flows will be highly sought after.   Are you looking to grow your finance career? The world of finance is always changing, so professionals within this industry must keep developing their skills. At Swisslinx, we have an experienced team of consultants who have the knowledge to meet the demands of our clients. We recruit for roles at all levels within investment banking, asset management and wealth management. We’re well-positioned to deliver a strategic recruitment service to companies in the finance sector and we’re dedicated to helping our candidates grow their careers. If you’re looking to secure your next role in finance, contact us today or take a look at our job page for more information.  

READ MORE