Leipzig: fast-growing life science ecosystem
Leipzig has long been a leader when it comes to innovation: 110 years ago, Hall 12 at the Leipzig Fair hosted the world’s largest International Building Exhibition. Now it is one of the city’s sites for the industries of the future: the life sciences information and communications technology in healthcare. It all began more than 20 years ago when the Free State of Saxony made a commitment to advancing innovative industries in the region. Spurred by an initial investment of ~€200 m, the hub in Leipzig soon became a success story. It is now known particularly for its expertise in the fields of cell, immune and gene therapies, robotics, digital health, diagnostics and knowledge-intensive services. As the host of BIO-Europe 2022, the city has now made the leap into the Champions League of life science locations in Europe.
Giving companies room to grow
One of the things that sets the city apart from other locations is its room for growth. At the BioCity Campus, 100,000 m2 of space is available exclusively for the life science and tech sector. At its core is the 20,000 m2 biotech and business incubator BIO CITY LEIPZIG, complemented by the 6,400 m² BioCube, both of which offer modern lab, office, manufacturing and storage spaces. Even more space for growing companies is being created going forward: Starting in 2025, CLL CityLab Leipzig will offer 8,600 m² of customisable lab and office space on five floors, and the new two building ensemble BioSquare will have a gross floor space of 26,000 m2 for hybrid lab/office solutions. Leipzig’s centrally located Innovation Centre is slated to open in 2026 and will provide more than 10,000 m2 of S2-labs, office areas, conference rooms and maker spaces for prototyping. And last but not least, 10,000 m² of space is dedicated to life science start-ups and companies in Hall 12 on the city’s historic fairground, which plans to open in 2027. In addition, most of this prime real estate is located near the city centre, with a bustling scene of restaurants, hotels and cultural attractions.
Offering a thriving ecosystem of partners
Leipzig has developed a thriving ecosystem of hospitals, research institutes and renowned companies located in close proximity to one another. They not only form a stimulating R&D environment, but are accelerating the growth and success of the region’s life science industry. It includes three Max Planck Institutes, two Fraunhofer Institutes, two Helmholtz Centres, five Leibniz Institutes, three ZUSE Institutes, the BBZ Centre for Biotechnology and Biomedicine and HTWK Leipzig University of Applied Sciences Leipzig University itself is a research powerhouse: The medical faculty’s Innovation Centre for Computer-Assisted Surgery (ICCAS) is a pioneer in robot-navigated surgery which is combining medicine and IT in exciting ways. The university is establishing a digital vaccine library to help prevent future pandemics and a brand new research and transfer hub to accelerate drug development. In addition, the university is a source of highly qualified graduates eager to join the local workforce. Thanks to this interconnected life science ecosystem, Leipzig has become a leading hub for regulatory preclinical work, process development, and cell and gene technology (CGT) manufacturing.
Enabling companies to help patients faster
The Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Biology and Immunology (IZI) is an expert in CGT and has a worldwide reputation for the quick transfer of scientific results into patient care. Through Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) testing, process development and the manufacture of clinical trial samples, it ensures that experimental drugs quickly find their way into clinical application. The Institute operates clean room facilities as well as quality control laboratories and has extensive experience with regulatory procedures and obtaining manufacturing approvals. Together with clinical and corporate partners, it researches and tests new technologies for modifying immune cells (viral/non viral), as well as alternative effector cells such as natural killer cells and macrophages. With more than 17 years of experience, the Fraunhofer IZI was involved in the production of the clinical investigational medicinal products for the EU’s registration trial of the world’s first CAR-T cell therapy. More than 3,500 cell therapy test samples for clinical trials have been manufactured at the Fraunhofer IZI since its inception.
Moving the industry forward in strong networks
The Fraunhofer IZI is a key member of Leipzig’s life science ecosystem and a leading partner of the SaxoCell innovation cluster. Among other things, this consortium of research institutes, hospitals and industrial partners in the Free State of Saxony is working on merging CGT with automation technologies, digitalisation and artificial intelligence. The Institute has also teamed up with the industry association ‘biosaxony’ and other partners to launch the qualification initiative QualiBio-Pharma. This groundbreaking 3 month program qualifies people from outside the life science industry for laboratory work so they can quickly fill local demand for specialised staff. In addition, biosaxony fosters collaborations and partnerships to speed up innovations for the life sciences and the global healthtech market. Start-ups and young companies from around the world also receive support through the specialised business accelerators SpinLab (for e-Health/m-Health) and MEDICAL FORGE (for Smart Medical Devices).
Success in numbers
- 50 ha of development space
- 50 companies and institutes on the BioCity Campus
- 4.500 highly skilled jobs
- 40.000 students enrolled at university and colleges
- 500 m² co-working lab for start-ups
- 60.000 m² newly created lab and office spaces
- €160 m of investment into new lab spaces
Curious about what else Leipzig has to offer?
Deutscher Platz 5c
Tel: +49 351 7965-500