Tübingen & Stuttgart

Tübingen & Stuttgart

Baden-Württemberg is one of Germany's top regions for the health industry: measured by the number of companies and the number of employees, the state is Germany's largest medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical location. While the pharmaceutical industry provides, among other things, the know-how for the implementation and production process, the mostly smaller and agile biotech companies or start-ups are the innovation drivers of the industry. Red biotechnology in particular, but also white biotechnology, characterize Baden-Württemberg as a biotech location and provide enormous development potential.

Baden-Württemberg is home to five strong bioregions that represent the interests of the health industry regionally and state-wide and provide a network for the various stakeholders in southwest Germany. These regions also include the STERN BioRegion, which is active as a central economic developer in the Stuttgart and Neckar-Alb regions and the cities of Tübingen and Reutlingen.

The region benefits from the resident scientific excellence from numerous renowned research institutes and three universities conducting research in the life sciences sector. These include the University of Tübingen, the University Hospital Tübingen, the NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen based in Reutlingen, the Universities of Stuttgart and Hohenheim, eight life sciences-related universities, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) and for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) as well as the German Institutes for Textile and Fiber Research (DITF) Denkendorf. In addition, there are the Max Planck Institutes for Intelligent Systems, for Developmental Biology and for Biological Cybernetics as well as the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society.

  • Central cluster and network actors: BioRegio STERN Management GmbH, BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH
  • Economy: 120 medium-sized medical technology companies, 110 biotech companies and about 1,000 engineering companies, of which about 40 are already active in the life sciences

During the Corona pandemic, in particular the Tübingen-based biotech company CureVac aroused public interest with its vaccine candidate "CVnCoV". Due to the vaccine's lack of efficacy, the company initially withdrew from the approval process. Since then, the company has been working on a second attempt. Together with the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), CureVac is developing a second-generation vaccine. It is supposed to help against different Corona variants, but also against other infectious diseases. With the experience gained, innovations in the field of oncology are also to be advanced.

In addition to Curevac, Immatics, a company founded in Tübingen in 2000, is now one of the leading German players in research into immunotherapies against cancer.

With the Stuttgart and Neckar-Alb regions and the cities of Tübingen and Reutlingen, the STERN BioRegion is home to over 120 medium-sized medical technology companies, 110 biotech companies and around 1,000 engineering companies, of which around 40 are already active in the life sciences. The region is characterized by its unique mixture of biotechnology and medical technology companies as well as the regional clusters of automation technology and mechanical and plant engineering. With the BioRegio STERN Management GmbH, industry actors have a central and competent contact point for economic development in the region. The proximity to a large number of scientific institutions conducting research in the area of biotechnology and medical technology makes the region particularly attractive for companies.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) in Stuttgart, for example, is working on using biotechnological processes to produce climate-neutral biohydrogen and additionally usable substances such as carotenoids or proteins from wood waste in accordance with the bioeconomy approach. The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, the Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management IFF at the University of Stuttgart and the Centre for Digitalisation, Leadership and Sustainability Schwarzwald gGmbH (Schwarzwald Campus) are also involved in the joint project "H2Wood - BlackForest".

With the state company BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH, Baden-Württemberg has created a central contact point for all stakeholders in the field of biotechnology. BIOPRO initiates and supports cooperation between research institutions and companies and identifies suitable cooperation partners on this basis.

According to the CWUR World University Ranking, the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart is currently among the best 4.1 percent of all universities worldwide. Especially in the fields of agricultural research, food sciences and life sciences, the University of Hohenheim occupies top positions. The University of Hohenheim offers several special bioeconomy courses and is a member of the European Bioeconomy University, an alliance of six leading European universities that aim to train a new generation of European bioeconomy experts, promote excellent bioeconomy research and advance the transfer of knowledge to society and the economy.

In the Neckar-Alb region, the University of Tübingen with its broad-based research and teaching provides the backbone for economic success in the field of biotechnology. Last but not least, the Neckar-Alb region impresses in terms of biotechnology research with facilities such as the Max Planck Institutes for Developmental Biology, for Biological Cybernetics and for Biology, the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory in Tübingen and the Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen in Reutlingen.

Since 2010, more than 83 companies have been founded in Baden-Württemberg in the field of medical biotechnology. In the period between January 2020 and July 2021, seven start-ups were founded. Analogous to other federal states, it is primarily the larger cities in Baden-Württemberg that attract start-ups. Consequently, most of the start-ups considered have their headquarters in the state capital Stuttgart (17 %), followed by Karlsruhe (10 %), Heidelberg (6 %), Mannheim (6 %), Freiburg (5 %), Ulm (3 %) as well as Tübingen (2 %) and Constance (2 %).

The state also provides various instruments to support young companies during their founding process. These include:

  • Seedfonds BW, which invests venture capital in young technology companies in the seed phase in Baden-Württemberg together with High-Tech Gründerfonds. 
  • MBG Baden-Württemberg, the management company of VC Fonds Baden-Württemberg, which invests as a parallel investor. 
  • The LEA Venturepartner venture capital fund, which invests in technology-strong companies in the early growth phase.
  • And the LBBW VC, an association of investors from the high-tech sector to support start-ups with capital and know-how.

BIOPRO offers a start-up compass for interested founders that summarizes contact points and funding programs for start-ups in the life sciences sector.

Moreover, the BioRegio STERN Management GmbH promotes innovations and start-ups in the Stuttgart and Neckar-Alb region and in the cities of Tübingen and Reutlingen on a public mandate. Start-ups are accompanied by the Science2Start program and supported by dedicated press and public relations work.

In addition to being integrated into a successful environment and the respective industry networks, young companies in the Stuttgart Region have a wide range of concrete and customized support offers.

  • The web portal startup-region-stuttgart.de provides a bundled overview of the relevant offers for start-ups in the Stuttgart Region.
  • The Business Angels Region Stuttgart (BARS), private investors with entrepreneurial experience, support young companies with their industry, management and leadership experience as well as their contacts.
  • The M.Tech Accelerator supports young start-ups with a focus on mobility, manufacturing and engineering in turning their ideas into marketable products as quickly as possible.

Together with the city of Reutlingen, Tübingen has founded the Technologieförderung Reutlingen-Tübingen GmbH (TFRT). The company primarily promotes biotechnology and medical technology companies. It advises start-ups and university graduates and rents out laboratory and office space in the Technology Park Tübingen-Reutlingen (TTR), Germany's largest start-up centre for biotechnology.