The latest news from Swiss pharma and biotech including a new CEO appointment for leading CDMO Lonza, promising Phase III readouts from Novartis’ latest leukaemia drug at ASCO, Roche’s pivot to obesity, and why the Swiss industry is betting big on artificial intelligence.


Lonza appoints Wolfgang Wienand as new Chief Executive Officer (European Coatings)

The Board of Directors of Lonza announced that Wolfgang Wienand has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and will join the company during the summer of 2024.

Wienand is currently CEO of the Swiss contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Siegfried Holding AG, a role he has held since 2019. Prior to this, he first served as Chief Scientific Officer and then as Chief Strategy Officer in Siegfried’s executive leadership team. Before joining Siegfried in 2010, Wienand held a series of increasingly senior positions at the German specialty chemicals company Evonik Industries.


10 Swiss startups to watch in 2024 (Tech.EU)

Although Switzerland’s startup ecosystem might not be the largest in Europe, it is widely recognized as one of the most innovative. Both government and private initiatives play a crucial role in supporting Switzerland’s startup scene, offering various incentives such as tax benefits, funding opportunities, and accelerator programs.

According to our Annual report, Swiss tech companies raised €2.8 billion in 2023, putting thus Switzerland on the 6th place among top 10 countries by the total raised amount.


Big Pharma steps up race for AI-discovered drugs (

Pharmaceutical giants, including Swiss firms Roche and Novartis, are betting big on artificial intelligence to discover new drugs to treat a range of diseases. But there’s a long road ahead to bring AI-discovered drugs to patients.


Roche says obesity drug results ‘encouraging’ as competition heats up (FT)

Roche said its obesity treatment delivered almost 19 per cent weight loss in early trials, as the Swiss pharmaceutical company seeks to rival Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly’s dominance in the booming sector.

Roche’s once-weekly CT-388 injection led to “clinically meaningful and statistically significant” results for patients with obesity compared with a placebo, resulting in weight loss of 18.8 per cent over 24 weeks. Side effects were similar to other GLP-1 weight-loss drugs such as Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, the company said on Thursday, including nausea and vomiting. Shares in Roche rose by almost 5 per cent in morning trading.


ASCO24: Novartis Leukemia Drug Beats Older Drugs in Phase III Readout (BioSpace)

Novartis’ kinase inhibitor Scemblix aced a Phase III trial in chronic myeloid leukemia, as the Swiss pharma looks to bump up the third-line treatment into a first-line spot. Novartis on Friday presented the data at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

In the ASC4FIRST trial, Scemblix was pitted against current standard-of-care tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapies. Out of 405 patients, close to half received Scemblix and the other half were divided between Novartis’ own Gleevec and a stronger, second-generation TKI.