Biotechnology in NRW
  2. Industries in NRW
  3. Biotechnology

Biotechnology in NRW

North Rhine-Westphalia boasts a first-class scientific research base, numerous internationally successful SMEs and a globally active chemical and pharmaceutical industry. In NRW the focus is on diagnostics and analytics, pharmaceutical and industrial biotechnology, nanotechnology, enabling technologies, and services. The innovations originating in the biotech sector find their way into wide-ranging applications – e.g. in healthcare/medicine, the chemical industry, food production and environmental protection.

Did you know ...

… that NRW accounts for more biotech patent applications than any other European region – by a wide margin?
… that QIAGEN developed the world's most reliable test for cervical cancer screening at its research center in NRW?

Quick Facts


in NRW
Around 450 life science companies, more than 100 of which have proven biotech credentials, are based in NRW.

1,66 bn €

with 4,000 employees
In 2015, the biotechnology companies in North Rhine-Westphalia generated sales of over 1.66 billion euros with approx. 4,000 employees, equivalent to 44 percent of total German sales in this segment.


technology centers
26 of the 60 technology centers in NRW are geared specifically to biotech companies.


research facilities
With a total of 46 universities, universities of applied sciences and non-university research facilities in the field of biotechnology, NRW, together with the aforementioned technology centers, has an excellent university and research network.

Leading center for innovation in Europe

NRW as biotech-location in Germany

NRW takes an international top position especially regarding the field of medical-pharmaceutical biotechnology, also known as Red Biotechnology. With NRW and Bavaria at the top, Germany leads the ranking of European bio-pharmaceutical locations in 2016 for the third time in a row. The top spot is based mainly on the high number of 507 patent applications as compared to the two next-ranked countries France and Switzerland.

Biotechnology companies in NRW

NRW is home to numerous global heavyweights that are active in biotechnology and other sectors. In addition, numerous dynamic specialist biotech enterprises are located NRW:

Artes Biotechnology
DIREVO Industrial Biotechnology
Lonza Cologne

Miltenyi Biotec: Leader in products for magnetic sorting of cells

Category: Biotechnology

Region: Cologne/Bonn region

In the mid 1980s while working towards his degree, Stefan Miltenyi developed a method of identifying and sorting cells; a leap in research for those times. Shortly thereafter, this physicist started his own company in the cellar of his parent’s house with 5,000 EUR seed capital. Today, Miltenyi Biotec GmbH employs 1,300 people in 14 subsidiaries worldwide. Its products are used in research and medicine; in the fields of immunology, cancer research, neurosciences and stem cell therapy. Laboratories all over the world use the MACS Technology, developed and patented by this global leader from Bergisch Gladbach, to separate and sort cells with the help of nanoparticles placed on a magnetic field. Miltenyi Biotec ploughs back about 30 percent of its turnover into research and development, a fact which surely will have played a part in the company being awarded the "Place of Progress" ("Ort des Fortschritts") title in 2011 as part of the "Progress NRW" ("Fortschritt NRW") initiative.

Learn more about Miltenyi Biotec

Informationsdienst Wissenschaft-Wirtschaft-Politik

German Biotecs 2011


Economic Development Agency of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)

Völklinger Str. 4
40219 Düsseldorf

Find a contact person

Germany’s No. 1 Economic Region

The excellent infrastructure, the central location and the high qualifications of the people make North Rhine-Westphalia an economic power of international standing. In terms of numerous economic statistics, NRW is world class.

BIO.NRW Cluster Biotechnologie Nordrhein-Westfalen

One of 16 state clusters, BIO.NRW functions as a catalyst for the sustained development of the North Rhine-Westphalian biotech sector.


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