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By Biocat

Innovation is an essential element in the long-term strategy of any company. For this to be possible, we must invest in emerging companies with innovative products, creating a virtuous circle that bridges the gap between knowledge generation and product creation. This requires companies that can compete on the market with innovative products, but also venture capital funds that invest and public funding. These feelings were expressed by Prof. José M. Mato, general director of CIC bioGUNE and CIC biomaGUNE and board member of the Foundation for Health Sciences, and Biocat CEO Dr. Montserrat Vendrell at the presentation of the workshop How to fund innovation in health? Challenges and opportunities, held yesterday by Biocat and the Foundation for Health Sciences, with collaboration from GlaxoSmithKline.

This circle has currently been reduced to alarming rates in our country, as various experts at this workshop warned. These same experts also called for the Administration to act as a benchmark in innovative public purchasing and to step up other policies such as public/private partnerships and fiscal measures. In the same line, experts also said that the triple helix is key to improving innovation, referring to wide-reaching collaborations among universities and scientific societies, the public sector and the industry.

Emilià Pola, general manager of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (Idibell), said that “we must make an effort to buy from innovative companies and SMEs and not always fall back on multinationals.” She also pointed out the fact that “we haven’t reached a point where our healthcare knowledge has an industrial impact. This shows our structure is clearly unbalanced.” One example she gave was in transplants: “We’re the best, we have the scientific knowledge, but more than 95% of the materials used in transplants are not Spanish but come from German or American companies,” explained Pola.

In the words of Javier Arias-Díaz, deputy general manager of the Institute of Health Carlos III, the concept of innovation must not be limited to new products, but also encompass new services and procedures.

In addition to incentivizing public purchasing of technology, we must help research be transformed into innovation. Hospitals in the 21st century will end up competing not so much based on their level of care, but on a paradigm shift, protocols and innovation in healthcare. And “the sooner innovation is implemented in hospitals, the more lives will be saved,” concluded Pola.

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