As biotechnology gains prominence among investors, two hubs have emerged as hotbeds of innovation for the resurgent industry.While the two-square-mile patch of South San Francisco bustles with more than 70 biotech firms, including Genentech, Amgen and Exelixis, an equally influential geography has grown along the Lemanic Arc of Switzerland and into the heart of Basel, where pharma giants like Novartis, Actelion and Roche (which acquired Genentech in 2009) have their headquarters.
We have grown accustomed to the Silicon Valley zeal driving startups to develop new technologies that will disrupt the market in yet another way. On-demand apps like Uber are aimed at making our lives easier by saving us time and money. In other parts of the world, people are faced with different kinds of “problems.” They aren’t so much worried about finding an app that will water their plants — their actual concern is finding water. An example, among many others, is India.
Switzerland may be a small country in terms of size, but it is a burgeoning innovation center in Europe. With top academic institutions that host incubators and offer accelerator programs, startups have the support they need to develop top-grade technologies.
In Saudi Arabia, a country known more for its vast oil reserves than its commitment to renewable energy, a small startup called NOMADD Desert Solar Solutions has developed a new way to clean up the process of solar energy production — literally.