Life Sciences



The Life Sciences industry -including pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies, medtech and healthcare services- is extremely relevant for the Italian economy since it accounts for 11% of the national GDP. In particular, when it comes to Pharma and Biotech, Italy is recognized as one of the most competitive and vibrant hubs in Europe, where it ranks 2nd by number of pharma companies, hosting leading multinational enterprises such as Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Takeda, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline. Italy also ranks 1st by pharma CDMO manufacturing value among EU countries, with a share of 23% over the EU total.

top eu 3


production value

Source: Farmindustria (2022)

Additionally, over the last 10 years, the number of biotech firms in Italy has constantly grown (+32%).


Source: ASSOBIOTEC Federchimica (2022)

The industry, whose production value is €49 billion, is highly export-oriented: in 2022, the export of the Italian pharma industry reached a value of €48 billion.


Source: The European House - Ambrosetti 2023, Federchimica Assobiotech 2023


Sources: Invitalia Report 2023 on data from Farmindustria 2022, ASSOBIOTEC Federchimica 2022, MIUR (Ministry of Education University and Research), Farmindustria 2021, European Patent Office; The European House - Ambrosetti 2023; Federchimica Assobiotech 2023.


The Italian university system boasts a large number of students and graduates in disciplines related to life sciences, thus generating a cutting-edge talent pool of human resources available for innovative companies. In particular, in 2022 Italy recorded 60.000 graduates in Life Sciences-related disciplines, and the Top 6 regions by number of students are Lombardy, Lazio, Emilia-Romagna, Campania, Sicily and Tuscany.


Source: MIUR (Ministry of University and Research)


A positive trend of pharma R&D investments has been recorded as well: in 2022 such investments reached €1.87 billion, growing by 17% since 2017.


pharma investment

Source: Farmindustria (2021)

Additionally, the Italian research ecosystem ranks 4th worldwide by patent productivity, showing an extremely high quality of R&D activities conducted in the country.

world wide countries

Source: elaboration of data from the European Patent Office




key innovation


The Italian innovation ecosystem is populated by a significant number of territorial clusters, which act as true regional points of reference for all those players (e.g., companies, universities, research centers) interested in Life Sciences.

At the national level, the ALISEI Life Science Cluster guides and boosts research and development, innovation, and technology transfer in the life sciences industry.

innovation ecosystem