Land of Laptops and Lederhosen

When a four-man company called Switch Biotech was struggling in 1997, it turned to the Bavarian government for help — and help is what it got. A state-funded investment company called Bayern Kapital gave Switch, a specialist in the treatment of skin diseases, a seed-capital matching loan of ?150,000. A state-funded biotech "incubator" offered it subsidized offices and labs. And a state-funded venturecapital firm helped Switch reach other scientists. Today, the firm has 75 employees, j3 million in revenues and a new deal with Denmark's Leo Pharmaceutical to develop an anti-psoriasis drug. That early help from Bavaria, says Stefan Schulze, Switch's...

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