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The BCN Health Booster acceleration program, led by the Parc Científic de Barcelona (PCB) and the Ajuntament de Barcelona with support from Barcelona Activa and collaboration from Biocat, completed its first year with flying colors. In 2022, the 11 participating companies secured €51.8 million, mainly in public funding (€35.4 million). The top rounds of investment were Deepull, which secured €13 million plus a €20 million loan from the European Investment Bank, GAT Biosciences (€1.3 million) and GAT Therapeutics (€1.5 million).

Maria Terrades, CEO of the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), announced these figures at the Barcelona Health Booster session called “One year of the acceleration engine” held in the BioRegion of Catalonia Pavilion at BIOSPAIN 2023, the global benchmark event for the biotechnology sector held in Barcelona from September 26 to 28.

“The results of the first year of the BCN Health Booster program couldn’t be more encouraging: the companies accelerated were able to build financial muscle, grow their teams, make women a more important part of their executive structure, and commit to a combination of local and foreign talent. Now we’re talking about emerging projects, but soon they will be consolidated companies,” noted the Park’s CEO.


Biocat provides financial support, customized guidance and access to capital

In this first year of the program, the companies took part in a free business guidance program offered by Biocat, adapted to their needs, which had 9 hours of training and 176 hours of mentoring and consultancy in strategic areas like putting together a business plan, technology transfer, intellectual property, regulatory issues, effective communication, market access, funding and internationalization. 

Biocat provided personalized support to facilitate connections with private funds and pharmaceutical groups. In 2022, Biocat promoted more than 55 actions to help connect the companies with investment funds/corporates, and offered all the BCN Health Booster participants the chance to sign up to the InvestBioRegion Portal, a matchmaking platform that works to promote licensing, co-development and funding deals for emerging projects in the BioRegion with the private sector.

Biocat Director of Innovation and Business Development Núria Martí explained, “This first year of the program, Biocat gave the startups tools, knowledge, personalized guidance and access to international investment funds that have fostered their business development.” Plus, she said, “Over the coming two years, we will continue helping companies to reach their fullest potential.” Some of the companies that offered personalized mentoring and consultancy services during the first year of the program included AseBio, Asphalion, Genesis Biomed, Merck, Pons IP, Swala Ventures and Verdrags.


Participant satisfaction 

Three companies shared their experience at the Barcelona Health Booster session called “One year of the acceleration engine” held on September 27 during BIOSPAIN 2023. The activity was led by Biocat Director of Innovation and Business Development Núria Martí and featured Mercè de Frias, COO of Ona Therapeutics; Gisela Lorente, CEO and co-founder of Aptadel Therapeutics; and Marina Rigau, CEO and co-founder of Mimark, who shared their vision and personal experience in the program. 

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