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Research and Development

Science is at the heart of everything we do. We conduct research and development (R&D) worldwide to develop new products and services to improve the quality of life of patients and satisfy the needs of our customers. Further optimizing the relevance and efficiency of our research and development activities – either on our own or in cooperation with third parties – is one of our top priorities.

Around 7,700 employees (2021: approximately 8,300) worked in research and development and corresponding support functions in 2022. They dealt with innovations to address long-term health and technology trends in both established and growth markets.

Expenditures for R&D amounted to € 2.5 billion in 2022 (2021: € 2.4 billion).

The organizational setup of our R&D activities reflects our structure with three business sectors. In the Life Science business sector, our research activities focus on developing innovative technologies for laboratory and life science applications in government and academic labs, the biopharmaceutical industry, and the industrial sector. We continue to focus on digitized and automated labware, DNA purification for downstream applications, and emerging chemical synthesis, as well as software for our BioContinuum™ Platform to accelerate Biopharma 4.0. In addition, our teams remain dedicated to delivering advancements in our core portfolios, such as filtration, pure lab water, and diagnostic solutions. With our Healthcare business sector’s R&D pipeline, we aspire to make a positive difference for patients – always with the goal to help create, improve, and prolong lives. Our main research areas include oncology, immuno-oncology, and immunology including multiple sclerosis. The main focus of our Electronics business sector’s research is on the development of innovative materials and technologies required for the manufacturing of ever smaller, faster and more powerful processors and memory chips. In addition, Electronics develops novel materials for next-generation displays and functional and decorative effect pigments for use in the automotive and cosmetics industries and other industrial applications.

We are deeply convinced that science shouldn’t be conducted in siloes. We believe a modern, multi-disciplinary approach to science will power the next wave of human progress. We call this approach bioconvergence because it leverages synergies across digital and material science as well as biotechnology. Success depends on the ability to combine a broad mix of competencies and technologies across several disciplines to create novel market solutions. As a diversified science and technology company with leading positions across life science, healthcare and electronics, we are in the sweet spot to pioneer this new era. Our goal is to harness synergies not only within our business sectors, but across them to make innovation much faster, more efficient, and far more impactful.

Examples of these opportunities that we are developing at the intersection of our business sectors and converging technologies include:

  • We continue to build our automated design-make-test-analyze platform. This will contribute significantly to revolutionize drug discovery by accelerating discovery of new and better drug candidates and in turn expedite timelines for new therapies to reach patients.
  • We are utilizing our capabilities across the group in messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) synthesis, lipid nanoparticle (LNP) synthesis and formulation and targeted delivery, and AI to enable the development of “smarter” LNPs that can more effectively target different tissue types including difficult-to-reach biological targets in various disease areas.
  • We develop digital twins in smart manufacturing to optimize time, cost, quality, and sustainability. As virtual models designed to accurately reflect a physical object or organism, they can help to improve the time, cost, quality, and sustainability of manufacturing, process optimization, and product development. Examples include making pharma supply chains more traceable and trustful. We developed a model and together with a partner achieved proof-of-concept for pharma primary packaging. Here, authorized stakeholders within the supply chain get immediate access to quality and process data of products at item level.

High-quality, interoperable data combined with analytics and AI offer unprecedented potential for new digital business models adjacent to our current product offering and unlock additional growth opportunities. Examples include Syntropy and Athinia™, which are partnerships with Palantir.

Syntropy represents a data integration and analytics environment wherein healthcare organizations can contextualize and analyze infinitely diverse data types securely across their entire ecosystem, enabling experts to collaborate in the fight against cancer and many other diseases. In addition to existing partnerships with, for example, Mitre, MD Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Texas in Houston, USA, and the University of California, Irvine, USA, Syntropy partnered with another large NCI-designated academic medical center in the US on a pilot in 2022.

Athinia™, launched in December 2021, is targeting the semiconductor industry. It is the only industry-wide collaborative data ecosystem where multiple companies leverage AI to solve critical challenges by utilizing data to improve supply chain transparency, quality, and reliability of materials, and speed up time to market. In July 2022, Micron Technology, a global leader in innovative memory and storage solutions, was announced as a first customer. Together, both parties aim to create a pioneering data collaboration ecosystem that will help lead a continued journey of digital transformation with Micron’s critical suppliers.

Research and Development Costs








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Corporate and Other1



















Adjustment of prior-year figure due to a change in functional allocation between administration expenses, research and development costs as well as other operating expenses.

The ratio of research expenditure to Group sales was 11.3% (2021: 12.3%). The decline is due to the positive sales development.

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