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The healthcare and life sciences sector in Catalonia is showing ongoing growth. This can be seen in the figures from the Directory of the BioRegion, which as of today has 871 private companies registered, up 18% from the figures published in the 2015 Biocat Report. These companies include 249 biotechnology firms, 89 innovative medical technology companies, 218 suppliers and engineering companies, 144 professional services and consulting firms, 29 active investment firms and 51 pharmaceutical corporations. The BioRegion also has 41 science and technology parks, 12 universities and 104 hospitals, 18 of which are university hospitals. The BioRegion currently has more than 100,000 highly qualified professionals, with profiles in high demand in the healthcare and life sciences sector.

With €160 millions raised over the past two years, Catalonia is one of the 4 most important centers in Europe in this sector. Despite being one of the smallest countries in Europe by population, it has more pharmaceutical companies per capita than any other country in Europe. It is also third in number of biotechnology companies (after Sweden and Switzerland) and fourth in number of medical technology companies (after Israel, Sweden and Switzerland).


La BioRegio en xifres

Graph: Key stakeholders in the BioRegion of Catalonia. Source: Directory of the BioRegion (February 2017)


2016, year of investment in the BioRegion

The joint turnover of companies in the BioRegion totaled €16 billions, contributing 7.1% of the Catalan GDP [1].

2016 was the most successful year for investment in the BioRegion by far, with more than €101 millions. Comparing the number of operations to the amount invested clearly shows the scope of the investments received in 2016, which was much greater than in previous years, for example STAT- Diagnostica (€25 millions), Oryzon Genomics (€16 millions), Aelix Therapeutics (€11.5 millions) and AB Biotics (€11.2 millions).

The outlook is very positive for continuing to attract funds in 2017. Good omens for large movements in the future include the new investment funds created by Ysios Capital and “la Caixa”, as well as a new life sciences fund that has landed in Barcelona, Alta Life Sciences, which aspires to attract €100 millions.

Other noteworthy operations in 2016 included those by Grifols, which continues its process of acquiring companies with the purchase of 49% of US company Access Biologicals, and the merger of Doctoralia and DocPlanner to create the largest online healthcare platform in the world.


1 new company every 8 days

Since 2010, 50 companies have been set up in the BioRegion each year on average, which means a healthcare and life sciences company is created every eight days. In addition to this great figure, the survival rate for these companies is high.

New start-ups, above all in the e-health sector, and the intrinsic characteristics of the sector mean that most companies in the BioRegion (92%) are SMEs or micro-enterprises.

Business creation has also been encouraged by an increase in accelerators in the BioRegion. There are currently 20 accelerators with projects in the healthcare and life sciences in their portfolio, noteworthy among which is Moebio – an initiative of Biocat named one of the top healthcare accelerators in Europe by and HealthStartup Europe in 2016.


[1]  Estimated amount taking into account the GDP of industry (biopharma, medtech and digital health companies) plus the healthcare activities (general and specialized hospitals, and centres and institutes that provide medical treatments)


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