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Catalonia is participating in over 1,200 clinical trials currently underway to test new therapies and drugs in patients. This puts the BioRegion 6th in Europe in number of trial participations and 8th in the world. 

For International Clinical Trials Day, held on May 20 to remember the importance of research in health, with this data Biocat is looking at one of the main assets of the BioRegion, which is only surpassed in number of participations in active studies by large countries like the United States (9,532), Canada (1,905), France (1,896), United Kingdom (1,633), Spain (1,595), Germany (1,583) and Italy (1,460). The data also shows that Catalan centers take part in 75% of all active trials run in Spain.

Benchmark in oncology

In terms of therapeutic areas, Catalonia excels in clinical trials in a wide range of specialities but particularly stands out in one: oncology, which is the focus of 65.5% of all clinical trials with Catalan participation, followed by cardiovascular diseases (15.7%), dermatology (13.4%), diseases of the central nervous system (7.8%) and ophthalmology (7.8%).

By centers, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital is the most active in clinical trials, followed by Hospital Clinic Barcelona, Bellvitge University Hospital, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Hospital Universitari Parc Taulí and Parc de Salut Mar.

clinical trials catalonia

Catalonia: global priority destination for clinical trials 

The main assets that explain why Catalonia has become a priority destination for clinical trials from all over the world are its top-notch healthcare system, first-rate hospitals, world-renowned healthcare professionals and more competitive costs than other countries in Europe and the United States. 

For Biocat CEO Robert Fabregat, “Catalonia has become one of the main driving forces for clinical trials in the world in recent years.” This can be seen in facts like, for example, that “since 2001, the number of clinical trials in Catalonia has grown every year, except 2020 when growth stagnated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Nevertheless, the CEO of Biocat believes, “The figures are very positive and maintain pre-pandemic levels.” 

One example of this attraction is the clinical trials run in Catalonia by the top international pharmaceutical companies with the highest turnover, like Novartis, Roche, MSD, AstraZeneca, Janssen, GSK, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, Pfizer, AbbVie and Sanofi; and the recent announcement from Alexion, owned by AstraZeneca, which will open a new center for clinical trials in rare diseases in Barcelona is 2022. 

This is one of the reasons an important international event like the Summit for Clinical Trials Operations Executives Europe (SCOPE Europe) chose the Catalan capital for their 4th annual congresses, held last month, and that Barcelona has just been named host of the upcoming international conference on biotechnology BIOSPAIN 2023. 

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