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Clinical trials in the BioRegion

Quality, safety, fast recruitment of patients, KOLs and competitive costs make the BioRegion of Catalonia a location of choice for clinical trials. Catalonia is among the top 10 in Europe in terms of participation in clinical trials and among the top 15 in the world; looking at oncology alone, it is in the European Top 5 and the global Top 10. All of the major global pharmaceutical companies have clinical trials underway in Catalonia.

clinical trials barcelona

The main Catalan research centers have a joint total of over 6,000 active participations in nearly 4,000 clinical trials. In 2017 alone, more than 1,000 trial participations began in Catalonia (one trial may have participations at two or more Catalan centers). If we compare this internationally, Catalonia would be ranked 16th in the world in number of trial participations and 7th in Europe. With these figures, Catalonia would be ranked second in the world by number of trials per million inhabitants, behind only Denmark and ahead of countries like the Netherlands and Switzerland.

11% of clinical trials in Catalonia are phase I, 26% are phase II, 40.3% are phase III and 17.4% are phase IV.

Vall d’HebronHospital ClinicHospital de BellvitgeSant PauParc Taulí and Hospital del Mar are some of the centers in the BioRegion with the most participations in clinical trials. 


Access to patients and KOLs

  • Catalonia offers access to a large population and excellent primary care network. In terms of quality, Catalan research centers, both public and private, are renowned for their experience and facilities.
  • Another main factor is the Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) who are world renowned in various therapeutic areas: Josep Tabernero in oncology, Jordi Bruix and Josep Maria Llovet in hepatology, Antoni Bayes-Genis in cardiology, Bonaventura Clotet in HIV, Merce Boada in Alzheimer's and Xavier Montalban in multiple sclerosis, to name just a few.
  • All of the major global pharmaceutical companies have clinical trials underway in Catalonia, including the top 15 by turnover (Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer, Novartis, Merck, GSK, Sanofi, AbbVie, Bayer, Eli Lilly, Amgen, Bristol- Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, AstraZeneca and Teva).


Excellence in oncology clinical trials

  • Of the clinical trials conducted in Catalonia, 37.3% are in oncology, followed by those in blood and immune diseases (9.9%), the circulatory system (8.1%), infectious diseases (5.8%) and the digestive system (5.4%), according to data from UNEIX. In fact, based only on participations in oncology trials, Catalonia would be in the European Top 5 and the global Top 10.
  • By centers, the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus is the most active in clinical trials in Catalonia, and one of the most active in Europe. In 2018 alone, this hospital began 306 new trials and recruited more than 1,600 patients, 1,500 in oncology.


What is a clinical trial? Informatin for patients

  • A clinical trial is an experimental study that aims to obtain information on how effective and safe a drug, treatment or medical device is for human use. There are many different studies that must be conducted when developing a drug before it can be marketed and used in normal medical practice.
  • A clinical trial only comes about after a long, careful process of laboratory research has indicated that a drug could be beneficial and safe for patients, whether all patients or specific groups for which it may work best. Patient participation in clinical trials is always voluntary and candidates are only accepted after having undergone the informed consent process.
  • How can a patient participate in a clinical trial? What rights do participants in clinical trials have? What are the benefits and risks of participating in a clinical trial? What is the informed consent process? If you are a patient and you want to know more about clinical trials, download this Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQ) document about clinical trials.