BaselArea Economic Promotion : Iris Welten. Basel, one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world.




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Video title: BaselArea Economic Promotion : Iris Welten. Basel, one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world.
Released on: November 21, 2012. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed at BioPartnering Future Europe in Brussels, Fintan Walton talks to Iris Welten, CEO of BaselArea Economic Promotion
BaselArea Economic Promotion: Purpose and functions
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BioPartnering Future Europe in Brussels. On this show I have Iris Welten, who is CEO of BaselArea Economic Development, welcome.
Iris Welten:
Thank you very much for having us.
Fintan Walton:
Pleasure. Iris, I suppose you know Basel is famous for two major pharmaceutical companies Roche and Novartis, and of course when you hear about an economic development objective occurring within Switzerland for the Basel region people will say well it must be, must be doing very well, but what is the purpose of the Economic Development Area?
Iris Welten:
Yes, so what we do is we actually help corporations, international corporations to settle down in our region, meaning we provide market intelligence service to them, we help them with the site selection, we help them to bringing it together with the network, also with the authorities, so the whole procedure, and it's not easy for company you know if you come to a foreign country you don't know the specific laws, you don't know the people, so it's the first point of entry where you really get helped to settle down as a corporation, this is one area international corporation. The second is to help start-ups, meaning people who would like to make themselves independent to start-up a corporation, we help them with the same services, also in addition to this we bring them together with financing possibilities with the right people, we have also a incubator in our region, our technology park from the Canton for example, and the third and a very important is you know if you would like to do business you need a roof over your head.
Fintan Walton:
Of course.
Iris Welten:
So we help with the site selection, because we administrative, take care also of the commercial sites and help you to find the right offices, laboratory, and make the whole program to visit everything, and what I am doing right now and thank you very much to promotion of course of the region, and the beauty about it it's all free of charge, so because we are happy.
Fintan Walton:
That support is free of charge?
Iris Welten:
Exactly, that the people come to our region that we can help and we really want the corporation standards why it's supported by the Cantons and why we can afford for free.
Basel Area life science cluster
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and I suppose one of the key things that probably people don't realize is, one the history, but also the fact that you have a true cluster. So just tell us a little bit about the history but, and then how that has developed into such an important cluster in life sciences?
Iris Welten:
Absolutely yes, it goes back to the 17th century, it all started with the chemistry cluster basically, and out of the chemistry cluster development the pharma cluster developed and even more important surrounding those very high value creating clusters also very attractive and market attractive activity and size, and a lot of sub clusters developed surrounding those, like for example if you look at pharma the whole biotech, microtech area, if you look at chemistry, nanoscience for example, so all of this has grown over time and established and you've already mentioned it a true cluster, a truly integrated cluster and you don't find a lot of integrated cluster like, you know if we look at Massachusetts or San Francisco they are leading integrated cluster and we come also within this because we offer the whole value chain. So you can come as a start-up or corporation and do everything from research to commercialization so the whole you know, and you have the right partners and, the right corporations and especially the know-how to do so.
VC's and finances in BaselArea region
Fintan Walton:
Right, so there obviously the important ingredients is the science but also importantly is the money, and I suppose may be Basel and the BaselArea is not so famous for finance, Zurich may be, may be more famous, but in terms of the private capital, the venture capital that's available in that area, is does that exist and to what level?
Iris Welten:
Yes absolutely, definitely you have a lot of VC's or seed money who is dedicated also to the life science area. They are don't necessarily need to sit only in our regions or there are also others who sit in other regions, but they are dedicated towards this sector and of course the concentration and the focus is also therefore on our region.
Support for small biotech companies
Fintan Walton:
Right, now the other component of course to this is again is the science, so then there is the money, but also equally important are the people, so the appropriately trained people, now obviously the pharmaceutical industry is undergoing a transformation, it's not just in Switzerland, it's worldwide, there is the change that's occurring in terms of research and development, a greater dependency on smaller biotech companies, so have you got the right resources, the right people, to help these small biotech companies?
Iris Welten:
That's an excellent point, talk to CEO's and they have companies in different areas, or Board Of Directors who have corporations in different areas, and I asked them why are you happening on our region? There first answer is the talent, so this is a huge asset we have, we have a really a very international highly educated talents, and the reason is again historically, and also we have a lot of commuters, about 50,000 commuters come out of France, out of Germany, and within Switzerland and are really focused and concentrated in this region. We have alone 36,000 employees who are focused on the pharma sector, and out of this around 10,000 scientists alone, so this is a pool of talent which you can really tap into in. When I talk about international, we have four languages in Switzerland and the fifth language in our region is English, so you can just go into a grocery store and everybody speaks, almost everybody speaks English, so it's truly international, also again because the headquarters are there and attract a lot of talents, and mostly the people who come there and so although I stay for three, four-years, they are still here, so a lot of them really consider then and stay in our region.
BaselArea's visionary business model and resources
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and we talked about the BaselArea, but the BaselArea, just to make it clear to the audience, it's not just Basel, the Basel city that people know, so what is the extent of the BaselArea?
Iris Welten:
Yes, it's a very visionary business model actually, so already 15-years ago Basel the country the Canton, as well as Basel city the Canton, decided to outsource a specific services like help with the site selection promotion in foreign countries, helping foreign corporations to settle down and the start-up service to BaselArea. So they, you know save a lot of personal and financial resources, because they have given it to us and support us of course, and in addition to this the Canton Jura joined us as well as Fricktal from Aargau and this is very visionary, because it saves money and personnel and it's we have a bigger attention because we can sell a very homogeneous very attractive product outside, so it's not like a mixture of products, it's the cluster in the region.
Fintan Walton:
Right, it's effective and it avoids the competitive requirements between different regions?
Iris Welten:
Absolutely, and offer we can arrange is very broad, whatever a company looks for we can offer it within this region and that really attracts some company to finally come to us because they find for sure what they are looking for.
Plans over the next five years
Fintan Walton:
So Iris, the last question really is about what do you see going into the future, you are the CEO of this of the BaselArea Economic Development and what would you like to see personally, what would you like to see as your, as you satisfying your own objectives for the area over the next five-years?
Iris Welten:
Yes, absolutely I think I am happy to live in Switzerland, I am German and Swiss citizen and I choose Switzerland, to come there, and it's really a great country to live in and there is a great cluster, and my goal is really to draw the attention to this very attractive cluster in the future, especially also if you look what's happening with in Europe, it's a very high security, very safe political system, very stable, very attractive on the tech side, and again on the industry side also very attractive and that will be my goal to attract foreign companies, and also to attract innovation and start-ups, because both goes hand in hand, you need also to innovation to attract foreign companies, and we are a good place to do this.
Fintan Walton:
Iris Welten, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Iris Welten:
Thank you Fintan.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Iris Welten
CEO
At the time of recording this PTV interview Iris Welten serves as CEO of BaselArea Economic Promotion. Iris Welten has been CEO of BaselArea since December 2011. She has 15 years' experience in various international companies in the US, Europe and Asia. She has held senior positions in listed companies such as Deutsche Telekom, Clariant and Swiss Life. Most recently, Iris Welten was a member of the extended executive committee of a pharmaceutical wholesaler, where she was responsible for Business Development, Communications and Quality Control. Since 2005 she has also been a lecturer for the Master's degree in Corporate Finance at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). And since 2012 she has been a member of the Life Sciences Commission of the Chamber of Commerce of Basel-Stadt and Baselland.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
BaselArea Economic Promotion
BaselArea Economic Promotion: BaselArea is the economic promotion agency for Europe's leading life sciences cluster. BaselArea provides companies with bespoke information and all useful contacts to make the right decisions on investments in the Basel area: - Guidance on how to set up a business in Northwestern Switzerland - Facts and figures about industry sectors in the Basel area - Information on legal, financial and staffing considerations - Introductions to key government contacts, professional advisors and regional networks