BioValley – Driving development in the Upper Rhine area
BioValley – is a commercially strong, trinational benchmark with an exemplary global character.
Over 25 years ago, Swiss, German and French representatives from the Life Science sector started a network between companies, research institutes and technology promoters in the upper Rhine valley region. In 1996, representatives from Strasburg, Mulhouse, Basel, Liestal and Delemont, Lörrach, Freiburg, Offenburg and Karlsruhe started a cooperation sponsored by an EU-promoted INTERREG II programme. This offered a breeding ground for the development of biotechnological innovations with economic value and maintenance of prosperity for the whole trinational region.
The initiative was started by the German-Swiss businessman Georg Endress, who was supported by numerous leaders from the local industry and universities in the foundation of the BioValley. The fusion of two leading chemical and pharmaceutical companies Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz in Basel forming the new company Novartis was a driving force. This meant a loss of 12,000 jobs, of which 3,000 were located in Switzerland. Thus, a life science network was needed to avoid loss of the economic power for this business sector in the region.
The founder´s visions in 1996 were to bring together Alsace (France), South Baden (Germany) and northwest Switzerland. This was one of the first European initiatives to promote the development of the biosciences. These three regions all showed excellent potential in the field of life sciences in the mid 90´s, including excellent scientific institutions (four universities, several colleges of higher education, research centres, etc.). Also, the headquarters of the global players, Novartis and Roche, along with CIBA, Clariant, Lonza and Syngenta were located here, together with facilities from larger pharmaceutical companies, e.g., DSM, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Sanofi and Moderna.
The BioValley network supports education, research and innovation forming a basis for the trinational metropole upper Rhine valley to further develop as a European knowledge and innovation region and as a recognized global player.
With its influence on employment in all areas of life science, together with the wide possibilities in training and professional development, BioValley guarantees successful stability in the Upper Rhine valley.