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  1.  Let’s begin with one of the news items that has prompted the greatest expectations this month:  The multinational AstraZeneca is reinforcing its commitment to Barcelona by creating 2,000 jobs, twice as many as it announced last year, and a capital increase of 1.3 billion euros for R&D, 500 million euros more than initially forecast. The hub, the first one to integrate AstraZeneca’s and Alexion’s capacities, will be housed in the Estel Building in 2025, when construction will be completed. As highlighted in the 2023 BioRegion Report, this is the largest foreign direct investment operation in Catalonia.    
  2. Furthermore, investments in health startups are still going full speed ahead internationally. This month, quite a few companies raised funding to continue developing their solutions. They include Ability Pharma, which raised 7 million euros to move forward in the trials of its drug for pancreatic cancer. Likewise, Braingaze received a monetary injection of 1.5 million euros to help bring its cognitive health solution to market; Flomics Biotech closed a round of financing worth 1 million euros to further their treatment for colorectal cancer; and Isensi raised 700,000 euros to continue to develop its multisensory and cognitive stimulation booth to improve the quality of life of people who are dependent or have reduced mobility. Also newsworthy is the capital injection of 3.8 million euros by the public-private consortium made up of several Catalan companies aimed at designing proteins using AI to make advanced therapies more efficient.   
  3. Regarding new funds, the government has launched the FITA fund in the public sphere, worth 55 million euros to finance research projects in the early stages. In the private sphere and for more advanced companies, Invivo Capital has announced a new investment vehicle worth 100 million euros   
  4. Regarding news in the BioRegion of Catalonia pipeline, the Hospital Clínic has started a clinical trial ARI-0003, a CAR-T therapy for lymphoma that is pioneering in the world. It is a dual CAR-T with two therapeutic targets found in malignant cells. Thirty-five patients diagnosed with lymphoma will participate in this study.    
  5. More and more centers are joining forces to make headway in research. There are two unique examples this month: first, while still on the topic of advanced therapies, the Blood and Tissue Bank and the Sant Pau Research Institute have teamed up to promote the production of innovative drugs and advanced therapies, including CAR-T cells. Secondly, the IRB Barcelona has promoted a pioneering program in Europe in translational research called TRIP (Translational Research Innovation Programme), which aims to promote research groups led by at least one fundamental researcher and one medical professional who combine research with clinical practice in order to accelerate the arrival of results to patients.    
  6. We are celebrating the fact that Barcelona has regained its leadership in applications for European patents in Spain, with a pharmaceutical sector that is once again at the top of the list. In fact, the biosciences, which encompass pharmaceutical products, medical technology, and biotech, account for almost one-fourth of all the applications in Spain. The University of Barcelona, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, EURECAT, and the ICFO are the organizations at the top of Barcelona’s ranking.   
  7. Regarding new infrastructures and facilities, the Villavecchia Foundation has received the construction permit that will enable it to build the first children’s hospice in Spain, a center for children with incurable diseases, in the Victòria pavilion of Barcelona’s Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau. This project has public-private backing, and the IQS has invested 10 million euros in new facilities for chemical analysis laboratories and nuclear magnetic resonance.   
  8. Dovetailing with March 8, International Women’s Day, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) has opened a branch in Barcelona to promote female leadership in the health sector, the first one opened in Spain by this association, which has 50 locations and more than 15,000 members.   
  9. This month also marked the start of the second edition of d·Health Barcelona Part Time, the Biocat program whose goal is to train students in entrepreneurship and health innovation by identifying unmet clinical needs in Catalonia's hospitals following the Stanford University Biodesign methodology. Get all the news on this latest edition!   
  10. And to conclude, we wanted to congratulate AstraZeneca and Wivi Vision, the winners of the Biosuccess award of CataloniaBio&HealthTech, and Peptomyc, which was given the 2024 Banc Sabadell – El Periódico award in the category of Most Innovative Company of the Year. 

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