It has been exactly 20 years since BIO CITY LEIPZIG was ceremoniously inaugurated on the grounds of the Alte Messe – back then as a unique scientific beacon. In 2003, largely new territory was broken by creating unique working and research conditions for six biotechnology-oriented chairs at Leipzig University and for growth-oriented biotechnology companies on approx. 20.000 m² and under a common roof. The ambitious idea was to create a technology center and incubator close to the city center in what were then economically challenging times. At that time, only a few would have guaranteed that the 50 million euro construction volume of BIO CITY LEIPZIG, financed by the Free State of Saxony and the city of Leipzig, would pay off so positively.
Two decades later, the nucleus of BIO CITY LEIPZIG has grown into a life science and tech park with international appeal. Over 50 companies and institutes have now settled on the BioCity Campus Leipzig. The scientific core consists of the Biotechnological-Biomedical Center of the University of Leipzig (BBZ), the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI, the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and, last but not least, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, whose director, Prof. Dr. Svante Pääbo, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine last year.
Founded in 2004 in BIO CITY LEIPZIG, c-LEcta GmbH - today it employs over 130 people at its headquarters in Leipzig - is an ideal example of organic growth and sustainable development. She has long since outgrown the nursery in BIO CITY LEIPZIG and will soon move into over 10.000 m² in a new building being built especially for her on the BioCity Campus Leipzig. Dr. Marc Struhalla, CEO c-LEcta GmbH looks back: “Our path from a spin-off of the University of Leipzig to a globally active, successful biotechnology company was very closely linked to the creation and development of the BioCity Campus and we have particularly in received a lot of support in the early days. Regardless of whether it is about providing new space or exchanging experiences regionally: the BioCity Campus remains the ideal breeding ground for our further growth.”
Oliver Schenk, head of the Saxon State Chancellery and State Minister for Federal Affairs and Media, also emphasizes: “The development of biotechnology in the Free State since reunification has been a great success story. The Leipzig location and BIO CITY LEIPZIG with its many creative minds and companies represent a new beginning and pioneering spirit in an important growth market. The Free State supported this development at an early stage with its biotechnology offensive. BIO CITY LEIPZIG is a really good place for exchange, for new ideas and the opportunities that arise from them. In particular, the close connection between industry and research here helps to advance and strengthen Saxony as a science location as a whole.”
The successes achieved are having an impact and are being continued consistently: The LGH Leipziger Gewerbehofgesellschaft is already building its third building on the BioCity Campus Leipzig. On the foundation of the former exhibition hall 12, a laboratory, office and prototyping complex is being built, which will provide 10.000 m² of space for new biotech settlements from 2027. “BIO CITY LEIPZIG has generated continuous growth. After an initial start-up phase, it was clear that the building would soon reach its capacity limit. In 2011, LGH therefore began building an additional 6.400 m² of laboratory and office space in the directly adjacent BioCube. All of the space there was quickly occupied, which is why we are now working hard to develop the next 10.000 m² of rental space in the innovation center,” says Kai Thalmann, Managing Director of LGH, summarizing the development in retrospect.
But as important as buildings are, they do not replace people's driving innovative strength. From the very beginning, together with the University of Leipzig, the economic developers had the will to create favorable conditions for companies in the long term. Together with the industry association biosaxony, they are characterized by an uncomplicated, hands-on mentality. Start-ups receive hands-on support. This ranges from regulatory aspects in the German healthcare system to addressing investors, recruiting and technical support, for example with laboratory technology or a modern 3D printer for medical applications in the co-working lab. And the accelerator MEDICAL FORGE accompanies eight companies from home and abroad through the Saxon innovation landscape every year. All in all, this creates a high-tech biotope with ideal conditions for future growth. Clemens Schülke, Leipzig's mayor and councilor for economics, labor and digital affairs, adds: “Back then, the city dedicated the Old Trade Fair to the life sciences. A smart strategy that is bearing fruit today. We have to stay on course today and develop the last areas on the site consistently and quickly to create a powerful biotech cluster.”
Prof. Dr. is also looking to the future. Eva Inés Obergfell, Rector of the University of Leipzig: “I am excited to see what groundbreaking discoveries and achievements the biotechnological
Biomedical center has in store for us in the future. The interdisciplinary research expertise in the BBZ, with broad core units, should be strengthened through the field of 'Applied Artificial Intelligence' in order to establish the next generation of innovations in the field of bioengineering. The BBZ has the potential for this. It may be possible to draw conclusions about the development of common diseases and the effectiveness of treatments. At the same time, the BBZ can open up new translation fields.”
Specialized real estate developers have also recognized the potential of the location. So it is not surprising that the Vollack company broke ground for the construction of two additional laboratory buildings on the BioCity Campus Leipzig this morning.
A ceremony took place today at BIO CITY LEIPZIG for invited guests to celebrate the 20th anniversary in style. Greetings addressed to the visitors:
Kai Thalmann, Managing Director of LGH Leipziger Gewerbehof GmbH & Co. KG
Prof. Dr. Eva Inés Obergfell, Rector of the University of Leipzig
Oliver Schenk, Head of the State Chancellery and Minister of State for Federal Affairs and Media
Presentations on the anniversary were also held at today's event by:
Jörn-Heinrich Tobaben, Managing Director of the Metropolregion Mitteldeutschland Management GmbH and first Managing Director of BIO-NET GmbH
Dr. Marc Struhalla, CEO and founder of c-LEcta GmbH