Switzerland, a Powerhouse in the Longevity Industry
Capital infusion and growing research interest is allowing Longevity companies to push boundaries in increasing human lifespan
The term ‘Longevity’ most commonly refers to the length of human lifetime. It has been a topic not only for the scientific community but also for writers of travel, science fiction, and utopian novels. Over the last several years, researchers and scientists have gone beyond simply acknowledging the brevity of human life. Their work now includes methods to extend life. As for the Longevity economy, it can be defined as a part of the economy in which actors are working on services and products that aim to benefit its consumers with extended longevity. This might be achieved through addressing the aforementioned longevity-related mechanisms or by working on the ageing-related solutions. This implies the existence of the variety of possible approaches and, thus, a huge number of sub sectors of the economy, where every sub sector addresses its own approach. These sub sectors include but are not limited to: AI for Longevity, Precision Medicine, Novel Financial Industry, and AgeTech. Therefore, the Longevity economy describes all possible longevity-related financial, social, political, and economic activities and approaches, making the longevity cohort its intrinsic part, constructed for the definition of a specific cohort that will become a consuming frontline in this economy.
Longevity has become a significant focus area for some of the world’s largest financial institutions, and many institutional investors are seeking opportunities to contribute to the development of the industry. Globally, there are over 703 million people over the age of 65. Bank of America Merrill Lynch projected that by 2020, the global spending power of those age 60-plus reached $15 trillion annually. “The one billion retired people globally are a multi-trillion dollar opportunity for business,” believes Dmitry Kaminskiy, General Partner of Deep Knowledge Group.
Longevity in Switzerland: Key Findings
Aging Analytics, a Longevity-focused subsidiary of Deep Knowledge Group, researched and analysed key developments in the Swiss longevity industry based on a vast industry database of 660 companies, 325 investors, 100 research labs and universities, 15 governmental organisations and 15 NGOs. 660 Longevity companies in Switzerland were distributed into 16 main categories. More than a half of the Swiss Longevity industry (55%) is involved in the PharmTech, MedTech and FinTech activities. The innovative fields of the most developed traditional occupations in Switzerland.
However, the most expensive investment deal was conducted with a startup from the InsurTech sub sector — Wefox. Other top deals are primarily AI for Longevity, P4 Medicine, Gene Therapy and PharmTech.
Globally, the size of the Longevity industry is estimated at $25 trillion in 2021, expected to grow to $33 trillion in 2026. The estimation by Aging Analytics is a combination of global healthcare spending, capitalization of publicly listed longevity companies and longevity-related insurance and reinsurance companies, banks, and pension funds as well as privately held companies.
The Longevity Industry growth is driven primarily by the rising number of people aged over 65. In Switzerland alone there are 1.46 million people over 65 accounting for 19% of the population. This is expected to rise to 30% by 2060 (source: UN World Population Prospects).
“Ageing has become one of the most acute problems of our time. It also presents one of the most promising opportunities. With $3,7B of capital investment in the Swiss BioTech Companies alone and overall $24,8B invested in R&D, Swiss enterprises are fully aware of this opportunity and quick to take it. Moreover, the Swiss government takes proactive steps for developing and implementation of Clinical Research Development Program, an action plan to make Switzerland an international leader in patient-centered clinical research. All these factors enhance the position of Switzerland as Global Longevity Hub”, says Emma Brodina, Director of Analytics, Aging Analytics Agency.
Senior citizens will be a profound and disruptive force in several areas of society, first and foremost in the longevity industry. Financial institutions such as investment banks, pension funds, and insurance companies will sink or swim when hit by this oncoming silver tsunami (demographic ageing).
The “silver tsunami” is also increasingly putting pressure on public spending. Switzerland is the second country after the USA and among OECD countries with the highest healthcare expenditure over GDP, 11.9% of GDP equivalent to 81.9 billion CHF. The main contributor to financing the Swiss healthcare system is private households, which accounts for 64% of total spending (source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office).
Keeping its ageing population in sight and its increased healthcare needs, Interpharma, Switzerland’s association of research-based pharmaceutical companies, has developed a strategy to maintain its crucial role in providing value for Switzerland and its inhabitants by 2030. Its strategy relies on three crucial pillars: patients and their environment, Switzerland as a centre of research activity and the economic policy framework.
Together with the government, research institutes and industry experts have developed a range of strategies to make Switzerland a hub for pharmaceutical and biotech companies such as securing pharmaceutical export and promoting clinical research. The end goal is to provide adequate healthcare to its ageing population and contribute to Switzerland’s longevity industry.
Swiss Longevity Valley
Switzerland possesses completely unique strengths and synergies in the spheres of BioTech, Preventive Precision Medicine, International Policy, the Financial Industry and Advanced AI-Empowered InvestTech Solutions. This unique intersection of frontier technologies and domains can be leveraged to transform the nation into a world-leading Longevity Valley in the coming years. Its specific strengths in international finance and FinTech in particular make it poised to become the world-leading Longevity Financial Industry Hub, if its unique advantages and potentials are leveraged in the right way.
BioValley, one of the leading life science clusters in Europe. The cluster is unique in that it spans across three countries, Switzerland, Germany and France. This includes the global life science hub of Basel, Switzerland. BioValley brings together important ingredients for a successful biotech cluster, a concentration of companies, rich availability of skills and experience within Life Sciences and a research base that is world-class.
Switzerland spends the highest percentage of GDP on healthcare (around 11.4 percent) compared to all EU countries. Basic health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland, although you are free to choose your own Swiss health insurance company. Moreover, Switzerland is known to be one of the most longevity-progressive countries, and has a strong reputation of being a nation not only having high investment in biotechnology, but also as one of those most capable of integrating AI into its economic, financial, and healthcare systems.
Switzerland has a long-standing reputation as a hub for both international policy and the financial industry. The nation has an extremely powerful potential to leverage its existing assets to become the leading European hotspot for the rising Longevity Financial Industry.
Three Pillars of Swiss Longevity Valley:
- Longevity Financial Hub. The main objective of Longevity Financial Hub is to develop strong global connections, focus on the economy’s needs, and serve as an international financial platform for particular regions and the global economy. Progressive asset management firms, investment banks, pension funds, and insurance companies based in Longevity Financial Hubs will develop new business models using AI to improve the quality of analytics.
- Longevity Technology Hub. Every industry requires an innovative out-of-border approach that can be accelerated by intense R&D. Close collaboration between academic and industrial representatives of the BioTech community may create an auspicious ecosystem. In such an environment, high-tech start-ups rise and attract new investments and talents, daring to find solutions to the most difficult ageing-related issues of modernity;
- Longevity Policy and Government Hub. Additional efforts are needed to further develop the industry’s existing strengths, including government support for R&D and other stakeholders in the Longevity Industry. Ageing proliferation as a growing problem is turning into an opportunity for governments to develop progressive policies for the pension system, an ecosystem of insurance companies, and a national strategy for intensive healthcare system development.
While the word “Longevity” is often associated with the likes of ‘Silicon Valley’ and the life extension community of supporters, according to the Aging Analytics Agency this may soon change. The Longevity Swiss Foundation, a Geneva-based non-profit and think-tank, is aiming to turn the nation into a world-leading Longevity hub, calling it a new ‘Longevity Valley’. While tech has Silicon Valley as its incubator, Longevity will require something more powerful. It is not just about vast amounts of money for investment, nor the innovation that draws talent. It covers complex phenomena that include political drive, synergy between finance and new BioTechs, and demographics that allow the new therapies to have a huge impact on the economy and people’s wellbeing.