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TECHNEWS · Thursday, July 4, 2019

7 Swiss Biotech Startups You Need To Know About

Life science is one of the most advanced fields of Switzerland with some of the world's most recognized startups

Switzerland has a centuries-old culture of technological advancement. The country not only has the highest nominal wealth per adult, but one of the best qualities of life of any nation on the planet, and the oldest graduate school of international and development studies (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) in continental Europe.   Back to the 21st century —  Switzerland is still leading the way in technological advancement and is at the head of developments in the biotech industry.
Below, I’ve focused on seven of the wonderful biotech companies that are doing Switzerland proud and changing the world for the better.


Started in the Vaud city, Lausanne, in 2015, this revolutionary startup was the star turn at the 2017 Swiss Fintech Convention. Why? Because Biowatch is the first commercial technology to use biometric recognition.

Biowatch’s W Band reads your wrists’ unique vein patterns in order to recognize, authenticate, and legitimize your location. This is used to authenticate your work and home premises, your devices, and services.

What this all means is that while you are wearing the W Band, it can’t be activated by any other user. This biotech is an even more secure and private form of authentication than fingerprint, voice, or face recognition.


Yet another award-winning Swiss biotech company, having won the highly-regarded Swiss Medtech Award in 2016, Intento has created a neuro-stimulation device. This device is able to help severely paralyzed stroke patients to regain their motor functions.

The technology works by enabling therapists to paint electrodes that are of a size and shape unique to their patients. This simplifies the process of customizing electrodes to a patient’s anatomy.

Of course, not all tech designed to help people regain their motor functions is about saving from serious medical conditions. But while there is merit in any development that returns you to full capacity, Intento is involved in technology that’s helping to make a life-changing difference to millions of people.


Since Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein after visiting Geneva, Switzerland has had an association with work involving human skin. Zurich startup, Curtiss, isn’t resurrecting the dead with its technology, but it is helping bring people back to life.

It does this by using small samples of tissue to bioengineer human skin, creating “personalized skin.” The way this works is that Cuttis harvests a small biopsy of healthy skin from a patient. The cells taken from this are then expanded in vitro and used together with a hydrogel to create a dermo-epidermal skin graft, known as denovoSkin.

Cuttis is great for:

    • Burns victims
    • Adults and children who need reconstructive surgery.


This Zurich-based startup was launched in 2014. Just three years later it was named the winner of the Best of Baby Tech CES 2017 at the annual Swiss Startup Awards.

The award-winning technology created by Ava is a sensor bracelet that tracks a woman’s fertility. It does this by establishing when a woman is most fertile, at an 89% rate of accuracy. It works by using a range of different physiological parameters.

Fertility has become a molten hot topic in recent years, with much discussion in 2019 centering around women’s rights in the area. Along with mainstream wellness companies like THINX, who are working to stop periods from being a taboo subject and helping people think positively about menstruation, Ava is at the heart of new tech that is helping with women’s health issues.


Keeping with the theme of wonderful Swiss startups doing incredible things in the field of tissue, Lunaphore is: “disrupting [the] tissue diagnostics field by fundamentally changing the time and resource-driven nature of diagnostic assays on tumor sections.”

Founded by Ata Tuna Ciftlik in 2014, Lunaphore has developed a diagnostic platform for classifying and analyzing tumors. This works through microfluidic chip technology that makes the analysis faster and more accurate.


Founded in 2015 and featuring the noted biomedical engineer Dr Vincent Forster and acclaimed pharmacist Dr Meriam Kabbaj, Versantis was ranked as the best Swiss biotech company at the 2017 TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award.

Versantis specializes in providing a revolutionary treatment for patients suffering from liver disease. It does this through a range of diagnostics and medicines which are designed to support failing organs.

Foster had this to say about the success of Versantis: “We focused on a rare disease for our first drug, as the approval procedure is quicker and more manageable.” Along with: “As an early stage startup with an innovative and differentiated strategy, raising finance proved a real challenge for us.”


While it’s never been easier to launch a business or found a startup, the price of setting up a company often makes it difficult to get started. With it costing $2.6 billion (USD) to bring a drug into the market, the money needed to fund a biotech startup can be intimidating. Not so for Xeltis, which operates on a sound business model.

Building its business model on a mission to reinvent the heart valve, Xeltis has been able to raise $119m to help fund its pioneering medical device. That device is the planet’s first polymer-based technology, which allows for the heart valve function to be naturally restored.

It does this Endogenous Tissue Restoration (ETR), a therapeutic approach that is restoring the blood vessels and heart valves of hundreds of thousands of patients every year. How important is this? As Xeltis’ Chairman of the Board explains: “[it] has the potential to transform the way heart valve disease is treated in the future.” 

Switzerland has a long and proud tradition of advancement. These 8 startups are just a few of the great examples of companies doing just that in the biotech sphere! 

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Kayleigh Alexandra

This article is a courtesy of Kayleigh Alexandra, blog writer and technology enthusiast. Pixabay

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