3 Questions to Leila Schwery-Bou-Diab, Chair Innovation Hub Committee Interpharma, VP Manufacturing & Technical Operations Janssen, Johnson & Johnson - Interpharma

Split contribution to:

23 September 2022

3 Questions to Leila Schwery-Bou-Diab, Chair Innovation Hub Committee Interpharma, VP Manufacturing & Technical Operations Janssen, Johnson & Johnson

What are the Strengths and opportunities of Switzerland as an Innovation hub?

Switzerland is the global leader in patent applications with 969 applications per one million inhabitants filed in 2021, followed by Sweden with 488. It’s no wonder that Switzerland has been continually ranked and remains one of the most innovative countries in the world.

The strength of the Swiss innovation ecosystem resides in:

  • A highly diverse and highly educated workforce driven by the large spectrum of education ranging from apprenticeships, universities of applied science, the Swiss Federal institute of technology (EPFL, ETHZ) as well as first class scientific research institutions.
  • High Swiss standard of living and salaries, the highest in Europe, make Switzerland competitive in attracting talent that drive innovation.
  • A very strong innovation ecosystem with a large network of international companies (Pharma and Biotech), as well as SME and start-ups.

What are the big challenges for Switzerland as an innovation hub?

The strategies and approaches that made Switzerland successful in the past will not get us where we need to be in the future, especially with the level of disruption that we are facing and at lightning speed.  Key areas that will ensure Switzerland’s future as a major pharma innovation hub are digitalization and the connectivity.

What needs to be done in the future so that Switzerland can remain as a competitive pharma hub and how will you leverage your new role as Innovation committee chair to advance this?

Looking at connectivity and digital, these challenges can be resolved only by breaking down silos. Given the level of disruptions that we will continue to face, our traditional and safe Swiss approach will not get us on time and where we need to be, that’s if we want to remain competitive in the future.

I aim to add value as a dynamic force by promoting proactive collaboration within Interpharma to leverage our strong network and capabilities in Switzerland. Stronger connectivity and joint efforts, starting with the Swiss innovation ecosystem, will be key to advancing the big topics of healthcare like digitalization, environment sustainability, continuity of supply and many more. We need to connect more with the Swiss government, health insurances, universities, industry, and become comfortable with addressing controversial topics. Always ‘playing safe’, avoiding difficult discussions, taking our time to make decisions and with only incremental steps forward, will only drain our competitive advantage in the end. Time is just not our friend in this unpredictable and volatile world.

Finally, I am convinced that we must continue to push the boundaries of science and innovation to ultimately maximize the value that we bring to patients, in Switzerland and around the globe.

Samuel Lanz

Member of the Executive Board / Head of Communications

+41 61 264 34 85

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