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Western Switzerland at the forefront of implantable medical devices

Why Switzerland

Thanks to first-class research facilities, a highly developed healthcare system, a concentration of research and innovation hubs, and renowned universities training highly qualified specialists, Western Switzerland is the ideal location for research, development, and production of medical technologies.

Western Switzerland is a leading location for the global medtech and implantable medical devices industries. With 1,400 companies in the medical technology sector, CHF 20.8 billion in revenue, and approximately 10.4% of revenues invested in R&D, Switzerland has become very competitive in the international medical technologies market. This competitiveness is mostly due to the country’s expertise in precision engineering.

Players in the sector operate in biomaterials, cardiovascular and dental devices and implants, diabetic devices, electro-medical equipment, medical, orthopedic, and ophthalmologic imagery, respiratory equipment, surgical instruments as well as wound care. Among them are international companies such as Beckman Coulter, Alcon, or Edwards Lifesciences.

Indeed, Western Switzerland’s Health Valley is home to one of the most dynamic medical industry ecosystems in the world, represented by the life sciences umbrella organization BioAlps. This organization helps to create synergies between academia, entrepreneurs, investors, and new businesses.

Western Switzerland, a leader in the manufacture and distribution of implantable medical devices

Every year in Switzerland, about 40,000 hip and knee prostheses are implanted and about 4,500 patients rely on pacemakers and implantable defibrillators. The medical devices manufactured and distributed in the country stand for quality and innovation, and reflect state-of-the-art medical technology. This makes Switzerland a leading host country for implant factories in Europe. To improve the quality of care in implant medicine, implants are systematically registered in the Swiss National Joint Registry SIRIS, set up by Swiss Orthopaedics, Swiss Medtech, and santésuisse.

Within this environment, many global medical implant players have found a favorable environment to establish their companies in Western Switzerland. Among others, Stryker in La Chaux-de-Fonds and DePuy Synthes Mitek (Johnson & Johnson) in the canton of Neuchâtel, specialists in orthopedic implants, Medtronic in Tolochenaz for cardiac implants, and Dentsply Sirona Switzerland in Ballaigues, the largest manufacturer of solutions for oral health professionals.

The Health Valley has also seen the birth of local medical implant manufacturers. Symbios, for example creates custom-made orthopedic hip and knee implants. Located on the Y-Parc site, the company has many opportunities for synergies, in particular with the proximity of the HEIG-VD’s academic institutes. Other regional examples are the medtech company Neo Medical based in Villette, which develops solutions for spinal column surgery, Amplitude Suisse SA in Geneva for orthopedic implants, the Bern-based implant manufacturer Tectri, and Ruetschi Technology in Montilier in Fribourg, in the manufacture and distribution of devices for orthopedics, dental implantology and spinal surgery. Moreover, the HES-SO Valais-Wallis Institute of Systems Engineering’s project BIOFLEX, aims to produce parts, such as implants, made of alloys by powder technology, with non-toxic and non-allergic elements.

The implantable medical devices ecosystem in Western Switzerland offers great prospects. For many years, the various players in the region have enabled millions of people to improve their quality of life thanks to devices designed in the heart of the Health Valley.