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President of the Government of Catalonia Pere Aragonés i Garcia and Catalan Minister of Health Manuel Balcells i Díaz named Biocat the coordinator of the future Advanced Therapies Hub of Catalonia today on their visit to the organization and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC). The project, which will have the Centre Nacional de Teràpies Avançades as its core facility, will feature the main players in the R&D system that do research in advanced therapies, which is where these technologies are invented.

“In Catalonia we have extraordinary potential for development in the advanced therapies sector and to be on the front line of the frontier of knowledge and application of knowledge in health worldwide,” noted President Aragonès while speaking to the media. 

“To start off, €60 million have been earmarked for investment over the coming three years,” explained Pere Aragonès, who also pointed out that today Biocat was charged with “rallying the stakeholders in this advanced therapies hub". “It is a commitment the government is making with the rest of the stakeholders in the biomedicine system in Catalonia”, he explained.

The President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, together with the Catalan Minister of Health, Manuel Balcells, and the CEO of Biocat, Robert Fabregat.

For his part, Minister Balcells noted that “at the end of this process, we have patients and improving their quality of life. The goal is to apply research, for it to be transformed into healthcare products so it can improve diseases.” The hub will also include companies that specialize in advanced therapies that are part of Catalonia’s industrial fabric; as well as the Health System, which will guarantee the necessary translation and clinical validation, and the adoption and implementation of these technologies. 

During their visit, the president and minister got a first-hand look at various examples of bioengineering applications to develop advanced therapies. Specifically, they visited the laboratories of the Pluripotency for organ regeneration group, located in the interdisciplinary research spaces at the Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya (IBEC) and led by Dr. Núria Montserrat, who works in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, and the Catalan Minister of Health, Manuel Balcells, during a visit to IBEC's facilities.

Afterwards, Aragonès and Balcells met with members of the BioRegion Board of Trustees, presenting the project to the top representatives of the BioRegion. “We hope you accept this task to rally the players, which the government has entrusted to Biocat and which will be positive for the projection of the sector and the population in general,” explained the president of the Government of Catalonia. During the meeting, the trustees discussed the steps to take before the project design is closed in February and execution of the operating plan begins.

Members of the Biocat Board of Trustees at the session where the president of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, appointed Biocat as coordinator of the Hub for Advanced Therapies.

Biocat, strategic stakeholder to guarantee the Hub’s success

All together, then, the Advanced Therapies Hub will be coordinated institutionally by Biocat, which will identify and align the public and private stakeholders in the BioRegion that are part of the Hub. And which will work to ensure participation of the whole value chain, from generation and development to access to the healthcare system and market. “The Advanced Therapies Hub will have great international potential because the global trend is to make a clear commitment and investment in developing personalized, advanced therapies based on bioengineering processes, and Catalonia has the essential ingredients to be a leader in this field”, explained Biocat CEO Robert Fabregat. 

The organization will also work to promote the strategic initiatives the system needs, searching for the funding necessary to carry them out (e.g. current ISCIII and CDTI calls) while promoting and ramping up public-private partnership to reach deals with pharmaceutical companies on industrial development.

The Advanced Therapies Hub has been consolidated with this agreement to create the new National Center for Advanced Therapies (CNTA), but this project has been in the works for nearly two years now. The Government of Catalonia submitted a proposal for the NextGenerationEU funds to develop an Advanced Therapies Hub as a recovery and resilience plan to counteract the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

It was one of the three focal points of the ‘Salut 2030’ project, which sought to mobilize €2 billion to promote the ecosystem’s industry and pipeline, consolidate and scale up the innovative fabric in the BioRegion and transform the health system in Catalonia. 

For more information, see the Ministry of Health press release

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