Swiss biotech going strong in 2024: 18 companies to put on your radar

Swiss biotech companies

With its beautiful landscapes of mountains and lakes, and its famous chocolate and cheeses, Switzerland is definitely worth a visit. But the country isn’t just a pretty face with good food, as the Swiss biotech industry counts numerous innovative companies. 

Biotech companies in Switzerland are heavily invested in developing new cancer treatments and immunotherapies, with pharma giants Novartis and Roche playing the role of powerhouses in this space. Switzerland is also a hub for gene and cell therapy development and contributes to research on therapies targeting the aging process and age-related diseases, exemplified by Rejuveron Life Sciences’ impressive portfolio in the field. 

In this article, we show you eighteen biotech companies based in Switzerland worth keeping an eye on.

Table of contents

    Alentis Therapeutics

    Alentis Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company dedicated to developing treatments for claudin-1 positive (CLDN1+) tumors and organ fibrosis. The company’s focus on targeting claudin-1 (CLDN1) represents a novel approach in oncology and fibrosis therapies, aiming to modify and reverse disease progression. The company closed a substantial series C round in 2023 raising $105 million.

    CLDN1 is a protein involved in cell-cell adhesion, and its expression is significantly altered in various cancers and fibrotic tissues. By developing monoclonal antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) that specifically target CLDN1, Alentis aims to disrupt these pathological processes.

    CLDN1 is often overexpressed in tumors, particularly in those that evade immune detection. Alentis’ therapies are designed to remodel the tumor microenvironment, enhancing immune cell infiltration and directly killing tumor cells. This dual action aims to overcome resistance to existing treatments and improve patient outcomes. In fibrotic diseases, CLDN1 expression contributes to the pathological remodeling of tissues. Alentis’ anti-CLDN1 antibodies aim to halt and reverse fibrosis in organs such as the liver, lungs, and kidneys.

    ALE.C04 is the Swiss biotech’s lead candidate in oncology. This monoclonal antibody targets CLDN1+ tumors and is currently in a phase 1/2 clinical trial for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). It is being tested both as a monotherapy and in combination with pembrolizumab, an anti-PD-1 antibody.

    The company’s most advanced program is Lixudebart (ALE.F02). It is a monoclonal antibody designed to treat organ fibrosis and is currently in clinical trials for kidney fibrosis (phase 2), liver fibrosis (phase 1), and lung fibrosis (phase 1).

    Araris Biotech

    Araris Biotech is a spin-off of the Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute and the ETH Zurich. The company works on ADCs. Currently, ADCs can come with a number of limitations. For example, the antibody part of the drug must often undergo costly and time-intensive engineering, slowing the ADC’s development. 

    To address this challenge, Araris Biotech has developed a linker platform that allows the attachment of any toxic agent to off-the-shelf antibodies, reducing the need for prior antibody engineering. This platform aims to streamline the creation of ADCs, making them more stable and effective. The linker allows for stable attachment, reducing the chances of the toxic payload detaching prematurely, which is a common issue in ADC development.

    Araris Biotech is working on a dual TOP1 inhibitor (TOP1i) ADC platform, which combines two different topoisomerase-1 inhibitors. Topoisomerase-1 inhibitors are a class of chemotherapy drugs that interfere with the topoisomerase enzyme, which helps manage DNA structure during cell division. By inhibiting this enzyme, these drugs cause DNA damage in rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells, leading to cell death. With this platform, Araris is advancing several ADC candidates.

    Araris is developing an ADC that targets HER2-expressing tumors, such as certain breast cancers. In preclinical studies, this candidate has demonstrated superior anti-tumor efficacy compared to existing treatments like trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd). It showed high stability in both mouse and human sera and maintained mAb-like exposure to maximize payload delivery.

    Another candidate in the Swiss biotech pipeline targets the NaPi2b protein, which is often overexpressed in ovarian and lung cancers, this ADC combines two TOP1i payloads. It has shown good biophysical properties and high anti-tumor activity in preclinical models.


    CDR-Life is developing antibody fragments to treat cancer and retinal diseases. The company’s antibodies target tumor-specific proteins inside cancer cells and guide a patient’s own T cells to attack and kill these cells. This highly specific therapy is designed to lower toxicity in the patient and avoids the side effects of many other current immunotherapies. The Swiss biotech raised $76 million in a series A round in 2022.

    CDR-Life’s science centers on developing T-cell engagers (TCEs) that redirect and activate a patient’s own immune system to eliminate tumors. Its TCEs are designed to recognize and bind to specific peptides presented by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules on the surface of tumor cells. This mechanism allows for precise targeting of cancer cells while minimizing off-target effects on healthy cells. 

    CDR404 is one of its lead programs, a bivalent and bispecific TCE targeting the MAGE-A4 antigen. These antigens are typically expressed in various types of cancer cells but are largely absent in normal adult tissues. CDR404 has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for an investigational new drug (IND) application and is poised to enter phase 1 clinical trials. MAGE-A4 is expressed in various cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), making CDR404 a potentially transformative off-the-shelf therapy for multiple cancer types​​.

    In collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim, the CDR202 program is focused on treating macular degeneration. The candidate, BI 771716, is a specific antibody fragment designed for optimal penetration in retinal layers and has entered phase 1 clinical trials for geographic atrophy, a severe form of age-related macular degeneration​ and CDR-Life recently announced dosing its first patient​.


    Cutiss is a spin-off from the University of Zurich. The regenerative medicine startup develops skin grafts to treat severe burns. Large and deep burns can reach the dermis – the lower layer of skin tissue – which can result in painful and disfiguring scarring. Currently, burns of this severity are treated by taking a skin graft from another part of the patient’s body, but these often contain very little tissue from the dermis layer and still cause scarring.  

    To get around this problem, Cutiss takes a small sample of healthy skin from the patient and then expands it in vitro. The company then creates a personalized skin graft containing both the epidermis and dermis layers. 

    denovoSkin is the primary product in the Swiss biotech’s pipeline. It has been shown to integrate well with the patient’s body, minimizing scarring and growing along with the patient. The company is currently scaling up production capabilities through automation to make the technology more accessible and cost-effective. This includes the development of the denovoCast, a bioreactor designed to automate the production of skin grafts, ensuring consistent quality and scalability.

    In 2023, Cutiss AG received a $2.8 million (CHF 2.5 million) grant to advance the industrialization of denovoCast. Additionally, in May 2024, the company announced the first closing of a $27.7 million (CHF 25 million) series C funding round​.

    Endogena Therapeutics

    Endogena Therapeutics has developed an artificial intelligence-driven platform that triggers stem cells in the patient’s body to regenerate and repair damaged tissue through endogenous regenerative medicines. These therapies aim to repair and regenerate tissues and organs by selectively activating the body’s own stem and progenitor cells. This approach could transform the treatment of degenerative conditions related to aging and genetic disorders.

    The Swiss biotech uses small molecules to activate endogenous retinal stem and progenitor cells. This process involves stimulating these cells to differentiate into photoreceptors, which are crucial for vision. This gene-independent approach is particularly advantageous for conditions like retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which has multiple genetic causes. By focusing on the body’s inherent repair mechanisms, Endogena aims to preserve and restore visual function without the need for gene-specific treatments.

    Its lead candidate is indeed being designed to treat RP. EA-2353 received orphan drug designation by the FDA in 2021 and fast track designation in 2023. The phase 1/2a clinical trials completed enrollment and topline interim data is expected in early 2024.

    Another promising candidate, EA-2351, targets geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This compound is approaching IND-enabling studies​.

    Engimmune Therapeutics

    Based in Switzerland, this biotech company is focused on developing advanced therapies for the treatment of solid tumors. They specialize in creating soluble T-cell receptor (TCR) therapies that are designed to target cancer cells with high precision and efficacy.

    TCRs are molecules that can recognize specific antigens on the surface of cancer cells. Traditional cancer therapies often target antigens present on the surface of cancer cells. However, many important cancer-specific antigens are found inside the cells. Engimmune’s TCRs are designed to recognize and bind to these intracellular antigens when they are presented on the cell surface by molecules called MHC.

    Unlike conventional TCRs that are part of a T-cell, soluble TCRs can be administered as drugs. These engineered molecules can freely circulate in the bloodstream, locate cancer cells, and bind to the antigens presented by MHC molecules. This binding activates immune responses specifically against the cancer cells, sparing healthy cells​.

    The Swiss biotech secured $17.2 million (CHF 15.5 million) in its seed round back in 2022. Engimmune’s lead program, ENGI-002 SpecTR is advancing towards clinical trials, with the goal of entering phase 1 clinical trials in 2025​.

    FoRx Therapeutics

    Many types of cancer cells undergo a process called break-induced replication when preparing to replicate themselves which prevents them from damaging their DNA. While normal cells do not undergo break-induced replication, cancer cells depend on it for survival. 

    FoRx Therapeutics is developing drugs that target this particular DNA repair pathway to block replication in cancer cells. The company’s drugs aim to treat colorectal and ovarian cancers and treatment-resistant melanoma.

    The company specializes in targeting DNA replication stress (DRS) and DNA damage response (DDR) pathways, which are critical for cancer cell survival. This approach leverages the concept of synthetic lethality to selectively kill cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue.

    FORX-428 is the Swiss biotech’s lead candidate, a selective glycohydrolase (PARG) inhibitor. PARG is a protein involved in repairing damaged DNA. FORX-428 has shown strong single-agent activity in preclinical models, demonstrating the potential for significant anti-tumor effects both as a monotherapy and in combination with other targeted therapies. The company has identified predictive biomarkers to select patient populations most likely to benefit from this treatment, which is aimed at cancers with high therapy resistance. 


    The Swiss biotech company leverages its proprietary glycoengineering platform to enhance the efficacy, safety, and stability of therapeutic proteins and antibodies in oncology, immunology, and other therapeutic areas by optimizing the glycosylation patterns of these biologics.

    Glycoengineering is a process that modifies the glycosylation patterns of proteins to improve their therapeutic properties. Glycosylation, the attachment of sugar molecules to proteins, plays a crucial role in the stability, efficacy, and immunogenicity of therapeutic proteins. 

    By altering the glycosylation patterns, GlycoEra can improve various properties of biologics, such as increasing their half-life, enhancing their ability to recruit immune cells, and reducing their immunogenicity. This targeted approach ensures that the therapeutic proteins function more effectively in the body​​.

    GlycoEra is developing a range of glyco-optimized antibodies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. These antibodies are engineered to have enhanced effector functions, such as improved antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC), which are important in cancer immunotherapy​​.

    The company is also working on glycoengineered versions of existing therapeutic proteins to enhance their stability and efficacy. This includes enzymes and other biologics that benefit from improved glycosylation patterns​​.

    In 2021, the Swiss biotech secured a $49 million series A round and announced an expansion of this round fortified by an investment from Bristol Myer Squibb in 2024.

    Haya Therapeutics

    Haya Therapeutics focuses on blocking long non-coding RNAs found in the human genome, which play a role in fibrotic diseases and other age-related health conditions, like cancer. 

    HAYA Therapeutics’ approach centers on the identification and modulation of lncRNAs, which are regulatory molecules derived from the “dark genome” — the non-coding regions of DNA. These lncRNAs play critical roles in regulating gene expression and cellular processes. HAYA’s proprietary platform targets these lncRNAs with RNA-based therapeutics, such as modified antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), to prevent and reverse pathological conditions like fibrosis.

    The Swiss biotech’s lead candidate, Wisper, is a cardiac-specific lncRNA identified as a key regulator of fibrosis in heart tissue. HAYA is currently preparing for phase 1 clinical trials.

    ImmunOs Therapeutics

    This Swiss biotech company is focused on developing therapies for cancer and autoimmune diseases. Their approach involves using human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules to create new treatments that can boost the body’s immune response to fight diseases.

    HLAs are molecules found on the surface of cells that help the body recognize which cells belong to it and which are foreign, like cancer cells or pathogens.

    ImmunOs creates proteins that can attach to multiple targets on cancer cells. These proteins can block certain checkpoints that usually prevent the immune system from attacking cancer cells. By blocking these checkpoints, the immune system can recognize and destroy cancer cells more effectively​.

    IOS-1002, the company’s lead asset targets three specific checkpoints (LILRB1, LILRB2, and KIR3DL1) that inhibit immune responses. By blocking these checkpoints, IOS-1002 can enhance the activity of both the innate (natural killer cells) and adaptive (T-cells) immune systems to attack and kill cancer cells​​. IOS-1002 is currently in phase 1a/b clinical trials.

    ImmunOs Therapeutics has raised $74 million in a series B funding round in 2022. This funding is being used to advance its clinical trials and expand its research into new therapies. 


    Spun out from Merck in 2017, iOnctura develops cancer and fibrosis treatments. iOnctura’s approach targets the tumor stroma interface, which is critical in enabling tumor cells to escape immune detection and resist treatments.

    The company’s lead candidate, roginolisib, is a small molecule drug that blocks a protein called PI3K delta, which is active in many types of cancers. While there are several PI3K inhibitors on the market and in development already, iOnctura’s drug is the first to target solid tumors. It has shown promising results in phase 1b trials, demonstrating potential as a monotherapy and in combination treatments. The drug received orphan drug designation from the FDA for uveal melanoma and is on track to start phase 2 clinical trials.

    A few weeks ago and four years after raising $16 million in a series A round, the Swiss biotech company closed its series B round just under $86 million (€80 million).

    Muvon Therapeutics

    Muvon Therapeutics is a spin-off from the University of Zurich. The company is developing a personalized cell therapy that uses the patient’s own cells to regenerate skeletal muscle tissue. Its technology allows for the targeted isolation of muscle tissue cells called muscle precursor cells, which are expanded outside of the body and then injected back into the patient where it can regenerate muscle tissue. 

    The company’s main focus is the development of a treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women. It recently closed active recruitment for its first phase 1 clinical trial. The company successfully completed the phase 1 clinical trial of its SUI and the phase 2 is ongoing.

    Noema Pharma

    In 2023, Noema Pharma secured $112.6 million (CHF 103 million) in a series B funding round led by Sofinnova Partners. The company’s mission is focused on the development of transformative therapies for central nervous system (CNS) disorders.

    The Swiss biotech’s portfolio includes compounds that modulate specific pathways implicated in CNS conditions. 

    • NOE-115 is a broad-spectrum monoamine modulator developed for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. Monoamines, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, play an important role in regulating mood, and several physiological processes, including the regulation of body temperature. By modulating these pathways, NOE-115 aims to alleviate vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes, as well as associated symptoms such as weight gain, daytime fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. This candidate is currently in phase 2.
    • Basimglurant (NOE-101) is a selective negative allosteric modulator of the mGluR5 (metabotropic glutamate receptor 5) designed to treat trigeminal neuralgia. mGluR5 is involved in various neurological processes, including pain perception and modulation. By inhibiting mGluR5, basimglurant aims to reduce the hyperactivity of neural circuits responsible for chronic pain in trigeminal neuralgia. This novel mechanism offers a new approach to managing pain where traditional treatments may be inadequate. Basimglurant is currently in phase 2 clinical trials.
    • Gemlapodect is a PDE10A inhibitor that modulates the dopaminergic signaling pathway. This candidate targets childhood onset fluency disorder (stuttering). Phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10A) is an enzyme that breaks down cyclic nucleotides, which are important signaling molecules in the brain. By inhibiting PDE10A, gemlapodect enhances dopaminergic signaling, which can help improve speech fluency in individuals with stuttering. This compound is currently in phase 2 clinical trials.


    NewBiologix emerged from stealth mode last year with a $50 million series A funding round. The Swiss biotech company is addressing the manufacturing challenges associated with producing recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors, which are commonly used in gene therapies. By improving the efficiency and scalability of these production processes, NewBiologix aims to make gene therapy more accessible and cost-effective.

    NewBiologix develops cell lines and bioinformatics platforms to enhance the production of viral vectors. rAAV vectors are the preferred vehicles for delivering gene therapies due to their safety and effectiveness. NewBiologix focuses on optimizing the production of these vectors using engineered cell lines​​.

    NBX-HEK293 is NewBiologix’s proprietary engineered host cell line designed for the production of rAAV vectors. It offers improved transfection efficiencies, robust growth properties, and higher rAAV titers compared to traditional HEK293 cell lines. The company also works on developing mammalian cell lines (CHO) for broader applications in gene therapy.


    Nouscom is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing cancer immunotherapies. The company specializes in both off-the-shelf and personalized cancer vaccines that leverage engineered viral vectors to target tumor neoantigens, aiming to induce potent anti-tumor T cell responses. The company recently raised $72 million in a series C round.

    Nouscom’s core technology revolves around the use of viral vectors to deliver large strings of tumor-specific neoantigens. These neoantigens are proteins produced by tumor cells due to mutations and are not found in normal cells, making them ideal targets for cancer vaccines. 

    The Swiss biotech company’s lead asset is an off-the-shelf cancer vaccine targeting metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) with mismatch repair/microsatellite instability (MSI). NOUS-209 is currently in a phase 1/2 clinical trial, where it is being tested in combination with pembrolizumab (Keytruda). 

    Nouscom is also developing NOUS-PEV, a personalized vaccine tailored to each patient’s unique tumor mutanome, encoding multiple neoantigens specific to the individual’s cancer. The personalized approach aims to enhance the specificity and efficacy of the immune response against the tumor cells.


    Stalicla was founded to meet a fundamental challenge in the development of autism treatments: clinical trials of ‘one-size-fits-all’ drugs for autism patients have failed in recent years. The precision medicine company is taking a more tailored approach to tackle this diverse condition.

    Stalicla uses systems biology and AI to classify patients with autism spectrum disorder into different patient populations based on biological, genetic, and other available clinical data. Then, it selects drug candidates – new drug entities or novel combinations – that are best suited to treating the groups of patients it has identified. Each drug or novel drug combination is developed alongside a diagnostic test to detect biomarkers.

    Earlier this year, the company raised $17.4 million in a series B funding round.

    The company plans to bring its two lead candidates, STP1 and STP2, into phase 2 trials in 2024. These precision drug candidates are tailored to specific subgroups of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients identified through the company’s DEPI (Digital Endophenotyping for Precision Intervention) platform.

    The Swiss biotech company is also developing a candidate for substance use disorders, STP7 (Mavoglurant). Licensed from Novartis, STP7 is a negative allosteric modulator of the mGluR5 receptor. It has shown promising results in phase 2 studies for cocaine use disorder and is preparing for phase 3 trials in 2025. Mavoglurant also has potential applications in mood disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders.

    Synendos Therapeutics

    Synendos Therapeutics is a spin-off from the University of Bern and the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research TransCure. The company leverages the modulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to restore the natural functioning of the brain, addressing conditions characterized by dysregulated ECS signaling.

    The Swiss biotech company is developing a new class of small-molecule drugs called selective endocannabinoid reuptake inhibitors (SERIs) that can restore the normal functioning of the endocannabinoid system in the brain. SERIs can be used to treat neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety, mood, and stress-related indications, like post-traumatic stress disorder.

    SYT-510 is Synendos’ lead drug candidate and the first in its class of SERIs. It has received authorization from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to enter phase 1 clinical trials. Preclinical studies have shown promising results in restoring ECS balance and alleviating symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders​.

    Tolremo Therapeutics

    Tolremo Therapeutics has developed a drug discovery technology that can identify targets on drug-resistant cancer cells. Based on these findings, the company designs small molecule therapies against these targets. Unlike other therapies that target drug-resistant cancers, Tolremo’s small molecules aim to kill drug-resistant cancer cells at the start of cancer therapy and can be used in combination with traditional cancer treatments to improve patient survival. 

    The Swiss biotech company’s approach involves targeting transcriptional resistance pathways that allow cancer cells to evade treatment from the very first dose. Its lead compound, TT125-802, is an orally available, selective small molecule inhibitor that blocks the transcription of genes involved in early cancer cell resistance to targeted therapies. This approach helps to dismantle the cancer cells’ defense mechanisms before they can fully develop, preventing the emergence of drug resistance​​. The drug is currently in a phase 1 clinical trial.

    In September 2023, Tolremo secured $39 million in a series A funding round led by BioMedPartners. 

    Switzerland, a key player in the biotech industry

    Despite global financial challenges, the Swiss biotech sector raised over $2.2 billion in 2023, with significant contributions from both public and private companies. This represents a notable increase from previous years. The most notable private investments include Noema and Alentis’ rounds.

    Swiss biotech companies are also actively engaging in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to expand their capabilities and market reach. The most notable transactions include Ironwood Pharma’s acquisition of VectivBio for over $1 billion and Pierre Fabre’s purchase of Vertical Bio.

    One of Switzerland’s strengths is its location. The country’s central location in Europe, combined with a highly skilled workforce and favorable business environment, continues to attract biotech firms looking to establish European headquarters.

    Additionally, Switzerland is renowned for its biomanufacturing capabilities, with companies like Lonza leading the global market. The country’s ecosystem includes 65 CDMOs, supporting the production and commercialization of biopharmaceuticals. This infrastructure ensures that Swiss biotech remains a critical partner in the global pharmaceutical supply chain​​.

    Switzerland is a biotech powerhouse, with established players in every stage along the way, from education to manufacturing going through research and development (R&D). And taking into account the country’s success last year, Switzerland is undoubtedly on an upward trajectory.

    This article was originally published in June 2021 by Larissa Warneck-Silvestrin and has since been updated by Jules Adam in July 2024. 

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