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The start-ups in the BioRegion enjoy robust health. This is revealed by the Study on investment in the life sciences and healthcare industry in Catalonia 2020, which was presented today by Biocat, CataloniaBio & HealthTech and EY. The study, which compiles the main indicators on investment in the BioRegion, confirms that the investments in start-ups have surpassed €100M for 4 years in a row, reaching €112M last year.

The study was presented by Biocat CEO Jordi Naval and CataloniaBio&HealthTech President Judit Anido. 56% of the €112M was secured in 32 capital venture and crowd equity rounds. The 10 largest investments account for 63% of the funds raised, led by Oryzon and Anaconda Biomed. Regarding the latter operation, Naval wanted it to “set a trend, a significant trend in medtech.”

Both investors and experts believe the 2019 figure is a prelude to a 2020 that is quite promising for the sector. In fact, BioRegion start-ups have raised almost as much capital in the first half of 2020 as they did in all the rounds in 2019: from €63.64M last year to €55.6M in the past 6 months.


Surge in investments from outside Catalonia

Of the most significant trends in the BioRegion, Anido stressed that in the past 5 years the number of international investors has grown tenfold. “This means that our sector is increasingly visible and that investors are losing their fear of investing here, even in very early stages,” she underscored. In this regard, Clara Campàs, a partner at Asabys Partners, pointed to the road to take in order to keep this upswing: “In order for international capital to come, we have to go invest abroad. This reciprocity is essential.” Campàs participated on a panel of investors who discussed the trends being driven by COVID-19, with Montserrat Vendrell from Alta Life Sciences, Lluís Pareras from Invivo Capital and Guillem Laporta from Ysios Capital.

Silvia Ondategui, a global Life Sciences partner at EY, sent out a “message of calm” regarding the impact of COVID-19 on industry investment in the sector: “In Europe, the capital raised in biopharma and medtech has not contracted whatsoever. The investment forecasts for 2020 show that the industry will be more active and promising than ever.”


Trends driven by COVID-19

Pareras noted that the coronavirus “has made obvious that the life sciences is much more than just an economic sector. It is essential for everyone.” “There will be keener interest among investors and greater support from governments. 2020 will be huge,” he predicted. Laporta shared his optimism: “Investment funds are heavily capitalized and have their pockets full, ready to invest. 2020 will be characterized by good investments in the sector, and the challenge for the next 3 years will be to gain even more traction.”


Rise in digital health

The event featured a panel of experts including Marc Martinell from Minoryx Therapeutics, Carolina Aguilar from Inbrain Neuroelectronics and Cristian Pascual from Mediktor. Martinell warned about the potential negative effects of COVID-19 in the middle term. “Looking forward to 2021, especially in terms of raising financing and partnering, COVID-19 could have a stronger impact because of the way it is affecting human relations. Face-to-race interactions are still very important, no matter how much virtual interaction progresses,” he said.

On the other hand, Pascual noticed that general investors are beginning to weigh the possibility of entering digital health companies. “Remote medicine has taken off and reached extraordinary levels, and this has ripped the bandage off the eyes of all healthcare systems. 2020 will be recalled as the dawn of the golden age of digital health,” he claimed. In fact, the study stresses the expectations of growth in digital health companies, since more than 90% of them expect to add new products to their pipelines within the next 3 years.


The world after COVID-19

The study also asked companies’ and investors’ forecasts for a post-COVID-19 world, or a world “with COVID-19,” Naval specified. The CEO of Biocat explained that there will be an increase in investment in infectious diseases, followed by the central nervous system and mental health.

The end message was optimistic: “We must be the only industrial sector that has good news. The biopharma sector in Catalonia in general employs around 55,000 people. Much of this private investment is spent on jobs and services within Catalonia ", concluded Naval.


See the press release on the study here.


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