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Ranking shows German healthcare SMEs among innovative leaders

The Mittelstand – or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – have long been considered a main pillar of the German economy, in part because of their flexibility and innovative drive. The “Innovation Champions 2021” ranking carried out by the German business weekly, WirtschaftsWoche, shows that healthcare SMEs top the table when it comes to developing visionary concepts in Germany.

Laboratory assistant investigates an infection
© zilli

BioNTech has become one of Germany’s best-known SMEs. Together with the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the Mainz-based company successfully developed a novel mRNA vaccine that is effective against COVID-19. Since then, millions have been vaccinated with the product.

Given that, BioNTech could be expected to top the latest WirtschaftsWoche ranking. Yet this year, Munich Strategy – which the business weekly commissions annually to perform the assessment – put another healthcare enterprise, Brainlab of Munich, in first place with BioNTech coming in third.

Brainlab develops software and hardware to aid doctors in optimizing operations and to improve medical care. The company is a global market leader when it comes to innovative, image-guided medical technology.

Another business, vac-Q-tec, specializes in thermal packaging systems. Munich Strategy ranked it eleventh in 2021. Based in Würzburg, vac-Q-tec has devised systems for keeping COVID vaccines made by companies such as Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and BioNTech at just the right temperature.

BioNTech, Brainlab, and vac-Q-tec all illustrate how basic research, education, and industrial product development synergize in German healthcare to make it an innovation leader. Other strengths of the country’s medical technology, medical biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and digital health sectors are long years of experience and a tradition of excellence in design, training, and after-sales product support and service.

The export initiative for the German healthcare industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, is the place to learn more about how German healthcare works for patients in Germany and abroad. Interested individuals and businesses are invited to consult initiative publications, including its website, where sector profiles and business directories, can either be read on line or downloaded for more information.