January Picks: The BioRegion has kicked off the new year with research and entrepreneurship initiatives to continue consolidating the sector
2024 promises to hold challenges that will determine the future of the BioRegion of Catalonia. Plus, the sector has been recognized for its solid, consolidated science and business arena with the Catalan capital being chosen to host some of the top international fairs in the sector.
- The Science Law is celebrating its first anniversary and roll-out continues, consolidating Catalonia as a hub of European research. One example is the recently passed Strategic Plan for innovation and knowledge transfer.
- The Barcelona City Council and ”La Caixa” Foundation are also working in this arena, awarding grants to 14 projects to drive research and come up with innovative solutions to urban challenges in community health, sustainability and climate change. The grant recipients will share €2 million and have 18 months to work on the projects. Plus, Foment has announced it will award grants to roughly twenty healthcare entrepreneurs through the Jump Startup for Women in Deeptech program.
- Turning to specialized investment funds in Catalonia, Asabys led a $6 million round of funding in US digital health firm XRHealth. In 2023, that same company merged with Catalan firm Amelia Virtual Care, a startup that uses virtual reality for mental health.
- And in funding news, Oniria Therapeutics has been awarded €964,000 through the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the European Union for a public-private partnership to develop TET2 activator drugs to treat melanoma.
- Regarding business expansion, Catalan company Top Health Tech (Top Doctors), which specializes in developing artificial intelligence for healthcare and innovative technological solutions, won a tender for approximately €115,500 in the United Kingdom to create a workplace health portal. The project aims to give British SMEs and freelancers access to the country’s workplace health and safety system. More startup news comes from Cuideo, which has acquired Dpen-D and now serves 500,000 policyholders. And digital health firm nen announced it is launching its first product “nendo”, designed specifically for kids experiencing pain.
- Regarding pharmaceutical firms in the BioRegion, Gotham City Research has accused Grifols of manipulating its accounts, which has had the company’s stock teetering all month long. Almirall announced its international holding company that controls the group’s international firms will be moving from the Netherlands to Barcelona. And the industry giant AstraZeneca has announced that it will locate its European hub in the Estel building in Barcelona.
- And in research, the Research Institute of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau took part in an international study that has shown that blood tests can be effective in diagnosing Alzheimer. Hospital Clinic has also been in the news with the second birth in Spain from a transplanted uterus. Plus, Hospital de Bellvitge has become the first Catalan public center to start using transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat resistant depression.
- Catalonia has consolidated its place as a global benchmark in transplants, setting a new record in 2023, with 3.5% more procedures than the previous year.
- The National Health Pact, where Biocat took part in several measures, is launching a participative process to implement proposals from the public to transform the healthcare system.
- And to finish off, you can now check the list of the 12 startups that will be in the Catalonia Health Innovation Ecosystem Pavilion at 4YFN 2024, led by Biocat, with TIC Salut Social, and in collaboration with ACCIÓ, the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS), Barcelona City Council, Catalan Institute of Health (ICS), Catalan Union of Hospitals, Consortium of Health and Social of Catalonia (CSC) and Catalan Association of Health Entities (ACES).