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ELIXIR, an intergovernmental organization that brings together life sciences resources from across Europe, showcased the free databases, software tools, training materials, cloud storage, supercomputers and other key resources it makes available to small and medium-sized companies at an event held at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) on 6 and 7 June.

During the forum, entitled the ELIXIR Innovation and SME event, more than 10 companies from the BioRegion of Catalonia had the chance to explain their business model and how they use ELIXIR tools in a Flash Talks session moderated by Biocat Head of Internationalization Roi Villar. The participants included Anaxomics BiotechMind the ByteHPCNow!NIMGeneticsUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaEagle GenomicsCOSTAISA, ELIXIR IAC, DatatonsEMBL-EBIAtosSequentia BiotechTicSalut FoundationAniling and Scientific Network Management.

Some of these companies are multinational corporations, some are start-ups, and others are transferable research projects from the UPC and the new EMBL in Barcelona. “The session showcased the diversity of the bioinformatics ecosystem in the BioRegion of Catalonia,” says Roi Villar. “Of the 871 healthcare and life sciences companies in the BioRegion, 24 are specifically devoted to bioinformatics and genomics, with a joint turnover of more than €7.8 millions,” adds Villar.

The event also featured Alfonso Valencia, who has recently joined the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. Alongside other speakers like Mind the Byte CEO Alfons Nonell-Canals and Made of Genes CEO Oscar Flores, Valencia analyzed how companies can gain access to big data generated through electronic health records and use blockchain technology to store this sort of information. "We'll overcome the resistance to sharing medical records for research, like all of the others before," says Valencia.

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