January / February 2018

Italian Biopharma

Scott Fotheringham, PhD
Italian Biopharma (Infographic)
  • $38B of manufacturing value, 71% of which is exports
  • 2nd in Europe for pharmaceutical production
  • Italy exports 85% of the API it produces
  • 42% of employees are women; 52% in R&D
  • 40% of companies are Italian owned
  • Exports have grown 52% since 2010, the largest increase in Europe



Modena — Holoclar, the world's first stem cell therapy, was approved by the EMA in 2015 for patients with extreme corneal damage. It is manufactured by Holostem Advanced Therapies, a spinoff of the University of Modena.

Milan — The world's first ex vivo stem cell gene therapy based on Italian research and developed by GlaxoSmithKline in collaboration with Fondazione Telethon and Ospedale San Raffaele. Approved by the EMA in 2016, the treatment is for children with ADA-SCID, a rare disease also known as “bubble baby” disease.

Research Institutions

Milan — The San Raffaele Scientific Institute of Milan, research partner to spinoff biotechnology company Gernenta, developing novel gene transfer cancer treatments.


Origgio — BioUpper provides support for innovation in the life sciences, giving startups access to biomedical resources, facilities, and experts. Partners include Novartis and the philanthropic Fondazione Cariplo.

Biopharmaceutical Clusters

Lazlo — One of the top ten EU regions for number of workers in the pharmaceutical industry and home to Lazio Innova, a cluster of universities, hospitals, IT, and biopharmaceutical companies.

Lombardy — With 46,000 employees, this is another of the EU's top ten regions for pharmaceutical workers. In addition, Italy has a robust program of clinical trials, half of which are conducted in Lombardy.