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Biotechnology and life science

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Broad range from research organizations to specialized startups

The Munich Metropolitan Region (EMM) is a stand-out venue for Germany's biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Fully 15 percent of German biotech firms are headquartered in this region, where 30 percent of the country's biotech drug development is also based. This prominent position is made all the more remarkable by the intensity of global competition in this dynamic industry.

Munich – Employment and revenue

According to our 2014 study*, some 23,000 people were employed by 377 biotechnology and pharmaceuticals companies in this region, generating revenue of around EUR 8.5 billion. In addition to this figure there were roughly 10,000 employees of public and private research organizations and universities. Already when the study was conducted, this brought the total number of people who work in this innovative, high-tech industry in the Munich Metropolitan Region to around 33,000.

In this very dynamic field more than 40 new firms have been launched here in the past years. Companies in the region focus on “red” biotechnology, i.e. the pharmaceutical/medical segment. Successful R&D has been done especially in personalized medicine and immunology. 

Close cooperation between bioscience research, the wider scientific research community and Munich-based companies is regarded as a key engine of successful development in the region's biotechnology industry. Nationwide and international players such as Amgen GmbH, Aenova, Bavarian Nordic GmbH, Bio-Rad Laboratories GmbH, Neovii Biotech GmbH, GE Healthcare Deutschland, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Hexal, Morphosys and Roche Diagnostics are based in the City or the greater Munich area.


Successful economic performance and innovation in this field is built on a scientific landscape that boasts two universities of excellence (the LMU and TUM), three respected Max Planck institutes and the German Research Center for Environmental Health (Helmholtz).

Biotechnology and pharmaceuticals cluster

Recognized and effective network management has been provided by cluster organization BioM for two decades now. BioM encourages dialog between the scientific and business communities, canvases for grants and subsidies, and manages the leading-edge cluster M4, which focuses on the attractive, forward-looking fields of personalized medicine and targeted therapies.


In the biomedicine segment, the Grosshadern hospital, LMU's Gene Center and the Max Planck Institutes for Biochemistry and Neurobiology are already networking closely in Grosshadern-Martinsried in the southwest of Munich. In addition, the new BMC biomedical center was opened in 2015 on the LMU's high-tech campus in Grosshadern.


Research in Freising-Weihenstephan to the north of Munich is concentrated on agricultural, biotech and food science. Alongside the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences, this location also hosts significant activities of the IZB Innovation and Start-up Center for Biotechnology.


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Development trends

On the whole, Munich's companies have mastered well several healthcare reforms and moves to simplify the licensing of generic drugs, as well as increasing international competition. Meanwhile they succeeded in further extending the locations's reach. 

The innovative capabilities of biotech companies are also reflected in the drug pipeline: Munich is the only hub in Germany whose biotech SMEs have been involved in developing eight licensed drugs. Funding for the industry's trailblazing firms worked out very well in 2016, with rounds of financing totaling EUR 15 million, EUR 17 million and EUR 40 million for Rigontec, Immunic and iOmx respectively. iOmx received the largest funding package in Germany.

In the field of digitization, BioM operates as an active driver of innovation: It uses trade events – involving IBM's Watson, a recent arrival in Munich, for example – to forge networks within the industry and promote knowledge transfer between the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and I&C sectors.

* Biotechnologie- und Pharmaindustrie in der EMM (2014), compiled by BioM, The Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria and Munich's Department of Labor and Economic Development. Available in German only.

Last updated: September 2017