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In a year made difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic, the life sciences and healthcare sector in Catalonia reached an exceptional milestone. In 2020, health startups in the BioRegion managed to raise €226 million in investment, the most ever, doubling in just two years from €112 million in 2018. 

The main source of this funding was venture capital, with a total of €140 million. There were 41 operations in total, up 58% from 2019. This data is from the “Investment in Startups” chapter of BioRegion of Catalonia Life Sciences and Healthcare Outlook 2020 - Challenges Ahead, the report compiled jointly by Biocat and CataloniaBio & HealthTech and presented this morning by Biocat CEO Jordi Naval  and General Manager of CataloniaBio & HealthTech Judit Anido.

After updating the data at the end of the year, with a more complete view than was presented in September 2020, the Report shows exponential growth in international investment. International investors were present in 4 out of 10 rounds of funding, or 62.2% of all venture capital raised. 

The number of international investors also increased five-fold, from 14 in 2015 to 73 in 2020. Most of them are from Europe (42) and the United States (22).

In his speech, Naval highlighted that “these figures reinforce our belief in the potential for scaling up the ecosystem to the level seen in other European countries. There is no reason we can’t be ambitious and think that we’ll see similar investment figures and aspire to attract series A.” 

Last year, seven companies raised over €10 million in investment. Biotechnology companies are at the top of the list, with a record investment of €142.6 million, fueled by three large operations that made up nearly half the total raised: Ona Therapeutics (€30 million), Minoryx Therapeutics (€25 million) and Oryzon (€20 million). 

Although the biggest operations are mostly in the biotech and medtech subsectors, digital health companies grew the fastest, with investment x2.6 since 2018. 

Judit Anido, general manager of CataloniaBio & HealthTech, pointed out that “the steady growth in international investment confirms the quality of pipelines, business models and teams at Catalan startups, as well as the fact that they are competitive on the global market.”

In addition to the update of the funding and investment figures, the Report also features macroeconomic and innovation indicators for the life sciences and healthcare sector – such as its 7.3% contribution to the GDP of Catalonia and its employment of 230,000 people – and discusses the challenges, opportunities and vision for the BioRegion over the coming years.

Catalan representation at Bio-Europe Spring®

The presentation of investment data for Catalan healthcare startups coincides with the inauguration of the 15th annual BIO-Europe Spring®, one of the main events for biotech and pharmaceutical industries and finance specializing in the life sciences and healthcare in Europe. 

This event, which was scheduled to be held in Barcelona for the fourth time (2010, 2013 and 2017), will be held completely online through March 25, due to the pandemic. Catalonia has a strong presence, making up nearly 65% of the Spanish delegation, with 49 companies out of 1,400 participating in the congress in total. 

In this sense, the lecture program featured one session that seeks to bring visibility to the potential of startups in the ecosystem with a panel discussion that highlighted the three biggest investment success stories of 2020: Ona Therapeutics, Neuroelectrics and Koa Health.

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