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Vice-president of the Government of Catalonia Pere Aragonès visited the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) on June 11 to learn about the healthcare sector’s potential as a driving force for innovation and competitiveness in Catalonia. The gathering also focused on getting a first-hand look at the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industry’s response to Covid-19.

The vice-president met with Biocat CEO Jordi Naval and took part in a panel discussion with entrepreneurs and investors from the BioRegion of Catalonia: Judit Anido, CataloniaBioHT; Jaume Amat, Specipig; Montserrat Vendrell, Alta Life Sciences; Javier Terriente, ZeClinics; Isabel Amat, Reig Jofre; Jordi Carrera, STATdx; Lluís Pareras, Invivo Ventures; Joël Jean-Mairet, Ysios Capital; Sara Secall, Inveready Capital; Raúl Insa, SOM Biotech; Clara Campàs, Asabys Partners; Frederic Llordachs, Doctoralia, and Marc Martinell, Mynorix Therapeutics.

The purpose of the visit was to learn about the needs of the sector and debate ways the government could maximize the economic impact of healthcare innovation in Catalonia. The CEO of Biocat presented the main figures on the BioRegion, which has attracted more than €100 million in investment a year over the past four years in a row and seen international investors increase tenfold.

In the words of the vice-president: “In Catalonia we have a consolidated research sector. Now that we have the chance to re-think our model for the productive economy, research has to play a key role.” For his part, Managing Partner at Ysios Capital Joël Jean-Mairet highlighted that more than 25% of his company’s investments are in Catalonia. “Not because they are from here, but because they are the best we’ve found. The quality of Catalan research is extraordinary,” he reaffirmed.


Ensuring return on investment

Sector stakeholders noted that, in addition to investment in research, specific policies are needed to incentivize private investment in R&D. “The risk/reward ratio is important and we need support to ensure our investors get returns,” highlighted Montserrat Vendrell, CEO of Alta Life Sciences.

The participants also noted the Covid-19 crisis as an example of the need to strengthen the system to minimize the impact of future pandemics. “We have to have long-term vision and, now that we need quick answers, understand that they are based on a foundation of investments made 10 years earlier,” noted Jaume Amat, CEO of Specipig. “We need to focus on transfer. The coronavirus is having an impact, but stopping now would be a mistake,” warned Lluís Pareras, founder of Invivo Ventures.

Ysios Capital presents third fund with €200 million

At the same event, Ysios Capital announced its third fund: Ysios BioFund III. With €155 million currently committed and a target of €200 million, Ysios BioFund III will invest in drug-development companies with a similar investment policy to its predecessors, investing in 15 mainly European companies with particular interest in Spain. The initial investment will be between €5 million and €10 million, with up to €20 million over the lifespan of the invested company.

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