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The Baden-Württemberg healthcare industry

The pharmaceutical industry

Baden-Württemberg is Germany’s largest pharma location. In addition to industry giants such as Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim, Baden-Württemberg is home to a large number of small- and medium-sized pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies with pharmaceutical research and development.

The pharmaceutical industry in Baden-Württemberg is loyal to its location. According to BIOPRO 136 pharmaceutical companies are located in Baden-Württemberg. Of them, 58 companies are pure distributors or suppliers. 88 of the 136 pharmaceutical companies carry out research, development and/or manufacture in Baden-Württemberg. In 2019, they achieved a taxable turnover of 7.52 billion euros with 26,590 employees subject to social security contributions. Most pharmaceutical companies are located in the regions Freiburg/Offenburg/Lörrach (21), Karlsruhe (16) and Stuttgart (13). Donau-Iller (Ulm/Biberach) and Rhine-Neckar (Mannheim/Heidelberg) are the two regions with the highest revenues. Companies in the Donau-Iller region generated 25 percent of overall revenues and companies in the Rhine-Neckar region 18 percent. The sector reinvests more than 13 percent of its turnover in research and development projects, making it the sector with the highest proportion of internal expenditure on research and development in relation to turnover1.

Fields of activity of the pharmaceutical industry in Baden-Württemberg (companies may have several fields of activity) © BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH

In Baden-Württemberg, a large number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and research institutes are working on new therapies and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, including CureVac AG, Atriva Therapeutics GmbH and the start-up Prime Vector Technologies GmbH. Companies in Baden-Württemberg, such as Pfizer Manufacturing Deutschland GmbH in Freiburg and TEVA GmbH in Ulm, are also involved in securing the supply of crisis-relevant drugs.

Six pharmaceutical companies were founded in Baden-Württemberg between 2010 and 7/2021. These includes ZentriForce Pharma Research GmbH in Heidelberg, which offers contract research and analysis for the pharmaceutical industry and Atvita Lifescience GmbH in Gundelfingen, which develops products and strategies to improve the therapy and diagnostics of rare lung diseases. Nowadays, it is very rare for new pharmaceutical companies to be set up with the intention of manufacturing, seeking regulatory approval, selling and carrying out research and development. The majority of pharma-relevant start-ups these days are biotech companies, service providers and contract manufacturers.

Biotechnology is an important driver of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. According to surveys by BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg, a total of 270 Baden-Württemberg companies are active in research, development and/or production in the region’s biotechnology and/or pharmaceutical industries. In 2019, 45,457 employees generated 11.5 billion euros in taxable revenues.

Companies and turnover of the pharmaceutical industry in Baden-Württemberg in 2019 by employment size classes © BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH


1) Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie e.V. (BPI): Pharma-Daten 2020; available online at www.bpi.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads/Publikationen/Pharma-Daten/Pharma-Daten_2020_DE.pdf

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/location/pharma