Skip to main content

Entitled 'Understanding how to create value in a changing healthcare & life sciences ecosystem', the latest edition of the Forum of the BioRegion was held on 25 November at the Palau de Congressos. The event brought together more than 300 opinion-leaders from the healthcare and life sciences sector.

“With this Forum, we hope to discover new ways to grow and identify opportunities, to get the tools to be more efficient in a global scenario characterized by economic uncertainty, market volatility, regulatory changes and increasing demand for innovation and generating value,” explained Biocat CEO Albert Barberà in his welcome speech.

To do so, the program of this year's Forum of the BioRegion was 100% international, with speakers from Canada, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom providing an integrative, transversal point of view.

The welcome speeches included those from Catalan Minister of Health Antoni Comín and CEO of BCN Peptides Berta Ponsati, the Silver Sponsor for this Forum.

To kick off the event, Simon Howell –founder and non-executive director of MedCity– shared the MedCity experience and explained how to add value through partnerships. MedCity is a body that promotes investment and entrepreneurship in the life sciences in southeastern England and, as Howell explained, "Provides support for 15 collaborative research projects between SMEs and academia, with grants of £100,000 for each one." "We've understood that our competition isn't in northern London; it's in Boston, California and Singapore," he concluded.


Future trends and emerging issues in the healthcare and life sciences industry

In May, Biocat presented the latest edition of the Biocat Report, which discussed some of the global and local trends that are affecting our sector. In order to delve deeper into these trends, the Forum included a session, sponsored by Biokit, with three top-notch experts from the fields of biopharma, medtech and digital health.

Michael Müller, managing partner at Monacon Beteiligungs GmbH, spoke about the changes that have come about in the value chain in biotech and pharma firms. "Large pharmaceutical corporations are beginning to outsource innovation, moving towards open innovation and looking for partners in new therapeutics and personalized medicine," he said. (Download his presentation here)

'Medtech 2016: Current Trends and Emerging Paradigms' was the title of the presentation by David Cassak, co-founder and managing partner at Innovation in Medtech LLC. Cassak highlighted that the economic crisis of the late 2000s has led to a shift in the model used by medical device companies: from volume to value. In Cassak’s own words, "Companies will be successful in the future not by selling more products but by addressing the whole issue of value in healthcare." (Email him at to request his presentation.)

Finally, Vishal Gulati, partner at Draper Esprit, spoke about the changing healthcare systems. For Gulati, one of the main changes is the shift in healthcare culture: nowadays we are much more aware of our health and demand information be available not only to hospitals but to patients as well. (Download his presentation here)


Successful models of public and private collaboration: Learning from the best on tech transfer and science commercialization

As the 2015 Biocat Report explained, in Catalonia the R&D system's capacity to generate economic activity (patents, licenses and spin-offs) isn't proportional to its scientific production. This is why the Forum of the BioRegion invited two international success stories in public-private partnerships: from Massachusetts and Toronto.

The session, sponsored by Reig Jofre, began with Susan Bannister, former president of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, who highlighted the need to promote and encourage entrepreneurship and gave some examples of how they do just that in Massachusetts. Zayna Khayat also gave some examples of how they do this in Toronto. Both Bannister and Khayat highlighted the importance of moving from a cluster to an ecosystem: “A cluster is a group of assets but in an ecosystem, these assets work well individually and as a group,” they said. (Download Susan Bannister’s presentation here and Zayna Khayat’s here)


Does Catalonia need a Chief Scientist?

To answer this question, the Forum invited Mehrdad Hariri, CEO and president of the Canadian Science Policy Center. After explaining the different models of Chief Science Officer and Advisors that currently exist around the world, he concluded that what Catalonia really needs is a Chief Innovation Officer to help with the country’s lack of technology transfer. (Download his presentation here)


The role of science in the BioRegion

This was the topic of the first dialog in the series entitled ‘Dialogs on the BioRegion: 10 conversations to explain the next 10 years’, a conversation between President of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) Andreu Mas-Colell and Deputy Director of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) Josep Maria Martorell.

During this conversation, they spoke about technology transfer and valorizing research. Martorell’s message was reassuring: “If the science is excellent, transfer will come.” They also spoke about the need to disseminate the science being done in Catalonia, not only among the general public but also among politicians. (A video will soon be available with the highlights of this dialog).

Sign up for our newsletters

Stay up-to-date on the latest news, events and trends in the BioRegion.