A €6 billion per year turnover; a strong vocation for exports; numerous centers of excellence, such as the Scuola Normale in Pisa, the IMT in Lucca and the Scuola Superiore S.Anna in Pisa; large international groups such as Glaxo and Eli Lilly. All the ingredients seem to be present for the creation of a pharmaceuticals and biomedicine maxi-hub in Tuscany. The project is by the Region of Tuscany that aims to unite the various entities engaged in the sector into a cluster capable of attracting new investments, of recognition as a reference point for high-level research, of developing innovation and creating the conditions for new production sites and, therefore, employment.

A model to emulate would be Biopolis, the biomedical research hub inaugurated in 2003 in Singapore, which in a decade became the global reference point for research in the sector, with important consequences for the city-state’s economy, employment, and quality of life. The Asian experiment was born as a support for pharmaceutical and biological businesses involved in research projects, but quickly widened, creating opportunities for businesses in the most rapidly growing sectors, such as medical technology, personal care, and nutrition. Ten years later, Biopolis has been able to attract investments and businesses: there are more than 40 large pharmaceutical groups present in Singapore, which have given life to partnership projects between the public and private sectors, and to interdisciplinary collaborations that have already led to various successes in the fields of research and innovation.

The first steps in trying to replicate this success story will be taken at the end of September, when the Tuscan project will be presented by the Region’s President, Enrico Rossi, to approximately twenty multinational pharmaceutical companies during a workshop that should include the managers of Eli Lilly, Glaxo, Baxter, Kedrion, Menarini, Sanofi Aventi, Roche Abiogen, El.En and Takeda. One of the agenda’s themes will certainly be dedicated to incentives and other measures that could lead Tuscany to attracting the sector’s talent, resources for new projects, and the sector’s businesses to come work in Tuscany.

Tuscany currently represents Italy’s third largest pharmaceutical cluster, after Lombardi and Lazio, and has a €6 billion turnover, exports 63% of its products towards the European Union, and counts 12,000 employees, including satellite businesses. Between 2006 and 2010, there were approximately 1,300 clinical experiments conducted in regional structures, whereas in 2013, there were 214 active trials taking place throughout the 24 active structures.

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