Leveraging German Expertise

How Swiss pharma group Roche is accelerating antibody and antigen testing for Covid-19 by investing heavily in its German facilities

 February, 2021

In May 2020, Bavaria’s state premier Markus Söder finally had some good news to report. The coronavirus had been badly affecting the southern German state for weeks. Söder was the first regional leader in Germany to have to declare a state of emergency, imposing a lockdown on public life and businesses that disrupted the lives of many Bavarians.

© Roche

Now, at a press conference in Penzberg, he and the German Health Minister Jens Spahn were able to announce that an antibody test developed in the small Bavarian town by a German subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche had just been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The company claimed that their new antibody test was 99.8 percent accurate. That gave Roche one more reason to invest another EUR 400 million into the Penzberg plant, allowing the German subsidiary to manufacture five million tests every month. The state of Bavaria also invested EUR 40 million.

“This is not just a regional event – it’s an important international step in the fight against the coronavirus,” said Söder.