Life Sciences

Industry of the future- Life Sciences

The research-intensive life sciences is not only one of the most productive industries in today's economy, but also has the greatest growth potential in the sector spectrum. Technological progress, the growing aging of the population, and the emergence of a new middle class in the emerging market economies have prompted great opportunities for the future in the life sciences industry.

The life sciences industry unit refers to the production of medical and life-preserving goods. In addition to the production and development of medicines, the company also manufactures diagnostic and orthopedic instruments, the production of vaccines, etc. The research-intensive activities combine the expertise of various disciplines such as pharmacy, medicine, neurology, microbiology and other technological research fields.

In order to quantify and track these interdisciplinary activities, BAK defines the life sciences activities as an aggregate of the following industries, based on expert opinions and current practice:

Pharmaceutical Industry
Research in Biotechnology
This definition is more detailed than the usual industry breakdown in official statistics. BAK has incorporated these subbranches into its model world. This allows a detailed mapping and long-term monitoring of the life sciences industry both nationally and internationally.

Core Project «Monitoring Life Sciences Locations»

The core of the monitoring is a comprehensive database. This database contains indicators for measuring the economic performance and importance of the life sciences industry at regional and national level. This includes a wide range of indicators on regional and national framework and location conditions as well as on the life sciences market. The project «Monitoring Life Sciences Locations» currently comprises 16 international regions and 15 different countries, the temporal dimension stretching from 1980 to the last year.

The database of the «Monitoring Life Sciences Locations» project, which is exclusively available to the project sponsors, is updated once a year. Where necessary, additional life sciences sites are integrated into the database. This allows a current and relevant benchmarking of the various leading and emerging life sciences locations.

Life Sciences Report, Executive Summary 2011/2012

Life Sciences Barometer

The Life Sciences Barometer assesses the performance and the framework conditions for the life sciences industry in a selected region, both in comparison to competitive regions and in the course of time. The construction of two indices, the index economic performance and the index framework, facilitates comparisons. Through the detailed presentation of the indicators used in the barometer, the causes of changes can be traced and tracked. The aim is to identify possible problem areas and potential improvements in a timely manner in order to provide a useful information tool for business, politics and lobby organizations, which are located in the rapidly growing location competition.

The two subindices of the Life Sciences Barometer again consist of several partial indicators. The Index «Performance» describes the economic performance, the Index «General Conditions» the framework conditions of the local life sciences industry. The distinction in «Performance» and «General Conditions» allows a differentiated view of the different areas of activity.


The indicators included in the project «Monitoring Life Sciences Locations» can be summarized by five main fields:


AreaIndicators per area
Performance Indicators 
  • Gross value added
  • Number of employees
  • Hourly productivity
  • Pharmaceutical sales
  • Population growth
  • Demographic change
  • Physicians density
General conditions 
  • Reachability
  • Product and labor market regulation
  • Taxation of enterprises and highly qualified workers
  • Competitiveness of the intermediate service industry
  • Presence of international schools
Life-Sciences-specific conditions 
  • Labour costs
  • Acceptance of biotechnology and gene technology
Innovation capacity 
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Venture capital
  • Availability of highly qualified workers
  • R&D spending
  • Patents
  • Publications
  • Quality of the local universities
Quelle: BAK Economics 


Project participation

  • Kanton Basel-Stadt
  • Kanton Basellandschaft
  • Basler Handelskammer
  • Interpharma (Verband der forschenden pharmazeutischen Firmen der Schweiz)

Research partners

  • Ernst & Young (life sciences, biotechnology)
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University (quality of universities)
  • Thomson Scientific Ltd. (patents, publications)
  • Dun & Bradstreet (company start-ups)
  • ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung (taxation)
  • IVT Institut für Verkehrsplanung und Transportsysteme (accessibility)

Simon Fry
T +41 61 279 97 39

Marc Bros de Puechredon
T +41 61 279 97 25

BAK Economics AG
T +41 61 279 97 00
E-Mail: info(at)