Italy is a top-three EU country for R&D in pharmacology, toxicology, and pharmaceutical research and clinical trials.

Milan is one of the largest centers for pharmaceutical and medical device clinical trials, with a particular focus on rare diseases and a strong pipeline of drug candidates.

The city has a rich network of academia, research organizations, national and international regulators, government and complementary industries, which provide a unique breeding ground for science, research, and innovation. 


Check out the categories of companies active in the lifescience sector in Milano! 


Italian life sciences companies have invested heavily in orphan drugs and advanced pathology treatments related to cancer and other diseases of clinical-epidemiological relevance, such as autoimmune and infectious diseases. They are also at the vanguard of vaccines research. Around 300 new Biotech products are currently being tested. Over €700 mln are invested every year in clinical trials by the Pharmaceutical industry.


Lombardy’s regional government is a leading partner of a national research program for the development of advanced cancer therapies using CAR-T technology. Other partners include the Hospital S. Gerardo-Fondazione Tettamanti (Milano Monza), AGC Biologics Italy, the San Raffaele Hospital and other research institutions based in Milano.


Consumers are increasingly concerned with their diets and the global functional food and beverage market is expected to grow 8% annually by 2021. Italy’s functional foods market is the largest in Europe and the country is second in the world (after the US) in scientific production applied to nutraceuticals


Milano is a hub for Italy’s agri-foods industry, and particularly functional foods, which is renowned for its quality and innovation. The City is located in the North of the Italian “food valley” and close to the European Food Safety Authority and European Nutraceutical Association in Parma.


In 2018, Milano’s ALISEI National Technological Cluster for Life Sciences partnered with the National Technological Agri Food Cluster, C.L.A.N., to support research and technology transfer in the following areas: nutraceutical, nutritional and functional foods.


Milano has one of the world’s most efficient and advanced healthcare systems, and was early in introducing individual electronic health records. It also pioneered an integrated “one health” approach.


Lombardy has more than 250 private and public hospitals, and 17 state-of-the-art research hospitals, known as “IRCCSs” and conducting critical research in biomedicine and healthcare services delivery. The city of Milano offers a state-of-the-art healthcare system, through a comprehensive network of 30 public and private hospitals. Milano also has multiple medical centers dedicated to its large international community, such as the American International Medical Center and the International Health Center. 12 hospitals have emergency rooms with dedicated assistance for foreign patients.


60% of the total inward FDI in Italy is directed to Lombardy. It has the EU’s highest concentration of multinational companies with 5,300 multinationals (47% of the national total) employing over 420,000 people (1/3 of the multinationals have offices in Milan).



Advanced analytics and big data are transforming the global pharmaceutical industry, and Italy is a top-three country in Europe for innovation productivity in computer science information systems.

Milano was the first major city in the world to launch 5G. It has also been chosen as a leading destination for research and training centers for advanced analytics companies.


Milan is home to the Center for Nano Science and Technology. It is also home to the Center for Genomic Science, which applies modern genomic technologies towards a better understanding of complex biological processes and diseases, with particular emphasis on cancer. The Center is located within the IFOM-IEO Campus in Milano, one of the largest and most vibrant cancer research communities in Europe.



Lombardy is the top manufacturing region in Italy and the third largest in Europe by number of employees. It has specific competitive advantages in agri-food, aerospace, life sciences, living environments, smart communities, mobility, green chemistry, energy, environment, construction and smart factories.


The birth-rate of knowledge intensive (KI) startups in Lombardy is 38,6 every 100,000 residents (less than 30 in Germany). Startups in Lombardy boast also a high (5.9%) and medium-high (13.5%) performance of growth, better than those in the Bayern region.

Startups related to Industry 4.0 had a birth-rate of 4 every 100,000 residents in 2017, with 1/3 of them experiencing a mid-high growth performance, the best results in Europe.