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The BioRegion attracts foreign companies that see the Catalan ecosystem as an ally for growth. The “Fast-track Programme to Barcelona-Catalonia Life Science Hub”, organized by the Catalonia Trade & Investment’s office in London,provides support for companies in the life sciences and healthcare sector that want to set up in Catalonia, with the support and participation of Biocat in this first edition.  

A total of ten companies from the sector established in the United Kingdom and Ireland presented their projects to a panel of experts made up of Biocat CEO Robert FabregatAsabys Managing Partner and co-founder Clara Campàs AMGEN Director for Spain and Portugal Fina Lladós, Vice-president for Innovation José Terencio, and Veristat Vice-president for Regulatory Affairs Europe Xavier Luria, to identify expansion and collaboration opportunities in the BioRegion. Biocat Scientific and International Relations Director Montserrat Daban led the session, held online on January 18. 

“Catalonia is ranked tenth in clinical trials in Europe,” noted Robert Fabregat, highlighting Catalonia’s potential in this area. In terms of innovation, Fina Lladós pointed out the value of the Catalan ecosystem and underscored one of its commitments for the future: “Our priority in the coming years will be applying genomics to healthcare services, by identifying genetic biomarkers associated with cancer, for instance.”

Xavier Llúria encouraged medical devices companies to expand into the EU for regulatory reasons: “With the new European regulation on medical devices, UK companies will need a legal headquarters in the EU to ease their access to the European market.” On this point Clara Campàs defended the importance of sharing data in the healthcare arena: “Patients will be easily transferred from one center to another if data is shared and systems are inter-operable.”  

An attractive ecosystem for foreign companies

The participants highlighted elements that make the BioRegion an attractive ecosystem for setting up in. Academic and business expertise, excellence in clinical trials and hospital innovation, access to the European market, capacity to manufacture medical devices and the region’s innovative nature

“Catalonia is a key market for the life sciences and healthcare,” they revealed. “And it is clear that the BioRegion offers a great opportunity to continue growing and developing multinational relations and associations.” Others noted the attractive research. “We see a lot of potential in working more closely with the scientific base in the region.” 

In the opening session, Catalonia Trade & Investment Manager of FDI Promotion and External Partners Roger Costa said: “The United Kingdom is a priority for the Catalan government in terms of promoting and strengthening FDI exchange. Catalonia is a very important industrial and technological region in Europe and the best gateway to South American markets.” “Catalonia is home to over 50% of the Spanish pharmaceutical industry and Barcelona is one of the top cities in Europe in terms of scientific production,” he added.

These are the 10 companies with their sights set on Catalonia

The ten companies chosen from 27 applicants belong to the biotech, medtech and digital health subsectors.  Talisman Therapeutics Ltd is working in drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases, particularly dementia. Also working on this same line were  Aparito, developing drugs by compiling patient data from outside the hospital environment, and  Orphan Reach Ltd which accelerates discovery and brings orphan drugs to patients. Eagle Genomics has an innovative platform that extracts data from the complex networks of the microbiome for scientists and healthcare professionals. And NorthWest EHealth Limited is working on a system to compile healthcare data to support clinical trials throughout the process. 

Continuing in the field of clinical trials, we have  Exploristics, which is developing biostatistics software and biosimulation tools to design, analyze and inform real-world studies and clinical trials, and Kirkstall which has created a cell culture flow system that provides in vivo-like conditions for more precise models and increased confidence in the validity of the results.

Another company and  Perspectum however, are focusing on improving primary care. The former is doing this by developing innovative tools based on large-scale genetic information and the latter, using cutting-edge digital technology to help doctors better care for patients with hepatic diseases, diabetes and cancer. GBUK Group Ltd specializes in developing enteral medications, treatment, products and technology to help care for critical patients. 

The program will hold a second session in February focusing on market access in the BioRegion, after which comes the process of landing in Catalonia, which some of these companies are considering in terms of a physical presence in the BioRegion.


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