Swiss Exchange’s Trading Venue Aims to Attract Biotech SMEs


Sparks, the Swiss Exchange’s newly launched small and medium sized enterprise (SME) trading venue, intends to make it easier for biotech SMEs to raise capital and strengthen their profile.

The Swiss biotech sector has proven to be attractive for investors, with venture capital investments rising almost steadily over the past few years and reaching record levels in 2020. However, initial public offerings (IPOs) have historically taken place when companies are well developed and those who seek an earlier listing often have to look outside of Switzerland.

Sparks, the Swiss Exchange’s (SME) trading venue launched in October 2021, intends to bridge that gap by offering biotech SMEs the possibility of an earlier route to market, and VCs earlier exit options.

At the recent Swiss Biotech Day, Fabian Gerber, Senior Relationship Manager, Primary Markets, at SIX Swiss Exchange spoke about Sparks and how it can help biotech SMEs. In addition to providing them with capital raising opportunities both in Switzerland and internationally, Sparks aims to improve biotech SMEs visibility while allowing them to diversify or expand their shareholder structure.

In February 2022, Xlife Sciences, a company specialised in the value development and commercialization of early-stage research projects from universities and other research institutions in the healthcare sector, became the first SME to list on Sparks. At the time, CEO Oliver R. Baumann said: “By switching to this regulated stock exchange, we do not only increase transparency and liquidity, but also make Xlife Sciences more accessible, especially to long-term oriented institutional investors from Switzerland.”

“A well-functioning small- to mid-size enterprise (SME) financial market ecosystem is of utmost importance because SMEs are the social and economic backbone of our society,” Gerber said in a 2021 PharmaBoardroom interview.

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