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The work group driving the Advanced and Emerging Therapies Hub of Catalonia, coordinated by Biocat, presented its action plan to 150 professionals from the sector gathered by the Catalan Ministry of Health. The presentations featured Catalan Minister of Business and Knowledge Roger Torrent and Catalan Minister of Health Manel Balcells, who highlighted the strategic importance of boosting the advanced and emerging therapies sector. 

In his speech, the Minister of Enterprise and Employment, Roger Torrent i Ramió, stressed that the Hub of Advanced Therapies is "a long-awaited and innovative project that allows us to take a new leap forward in leading this field in southern Europe". In fact, as an example of the potential of this niche, Torrent stressed that the companies dedicated to this speciality "have not only increased their turnover and the creation of specialised employment in Catalonia, but have also experienced an impressive growth in investment, going from practically zero to 250 million euros between 2006 and 2022".

During the ceremony, the Minister of Health, Manel Balcells i Díaz, highlighted the added value that this Hub will bring: "It is a great commitment by the country to industry and innovation that should give us value: it gives us jobs with added value, wealth, and, above all, allows us to commit to improving patients and also contribute to the improvement of diseases at a global level. It is a great commitment".

During the event, Biocat CEO Robert Fabregat shared the actions that will be rolled out to drive and promote the advanced and emerging therapies ecosystem in Catalonia, which fall under five categories and in which Biocat will play a noteworthy role: 

  1. Training and talent: The plan will promote tools for training and retaining specialized technical profiles that can work the whole value chain.
  2. Technology and knowledge transfer: This will include advisory services on subjects like regulatory issues and biomanufacturing so researchers and entrepreneurs can incorporate this point of view and knowledge from the very beginning of their processes, thus facilitating transfer to a clinical setting and healthcare system and patient access. 
    Here Biocat will run an acceleration program specifically incorporating guidance for projects specializing in advanced and emerging therapies to foster acceleration of the projects or new startups.
  3. Scaleup and production: A meeting point will be created, called the Observatory for Advanced and Emerging Therapies in Catalonia, coordinated by Biocat, to lay the groundwork for driving collaboration models and funding instruments in the public and private sectors to fuel the growth of all stakeholders involved in producing advanced and emerging therapies in Catalonia.
  4. Interaction with the Catalan Health System: Knowledge of new therapies and treatments will be transferred to the Catalan Health System to be adopted and ensure they reach society in a universal, equitable manner.
  5. Relations with the ecosystem: A common nexus will be created for all the initiatives, projects and capacities available in the BioRegion of Catalonia to provide a unified gateway to opportunities, connecting the interests and needs of all the stakeholders involved. Biocat will be in charge of promoting the creation of this network, called the Advanced and Emerging Therapies Network of Catalonia, to foster relations among all stakeholders that can act as a foundation for partnerships and collaborations.

The Biocat CEO clarified: “Special focus will be placed on streamlining and driving clinical development, scaleup, production and adoption of these therapies that have the potential to improve people’s health and wellbeing, democratizing the population’s access to them and, as a result, contributing to the country’s social and economic progress and growth.”

The Advanced and Emerging Therapies Hub of Catalonia is a project the Government of Catalonia entrusted to Biocat in order to drive the advanced and emerging therapies ecosystem in Catalonia to ensure patients have access to therapeutic solutions and increase the number of clinical trials in this arena. The initiative will also encourage industrial development and boost the economic and social impact of this strategic value-added sector.

Plus, the initiative will include the Advanced and Emerging Therapies Center of Catalonia (CTAEC), which will become a new facility open to the ecosystem to promote connections among the generation of these technologies in public health and R&D systems, and industrial development and commercialization by the private sector afterwards. 

An opportunity for Catalonia

Catalonia has one of the most vibrant and active life sciences and healthcare ecosystems in Europe, as seen in the data published in the 2022 BioRegion of Catalonia Report compiled by Biocat. It has a very high level of science in advanced therapies and bioengineering, as well as a top-notch clinical and hospital fabric, with great potential for conducting research and innovative clinical trials. Now, it is home to an ecosystem of emerging companies and investors in biotechnology that is growing exponentially and is highly competitive. 

This situation makes it easy to see that we need a clear commitment to positioning Catalonia among the leading European hubs in this arena, which has attracted interest from the international community given the positive impact it is expected to have.

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