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With over 1,200 active clinical trials, Catalonia is ranked 9th in the world and 6th in Europe. The quality of the healthcare system, excellence of hospitals and world-renowned professionals have made Catalonia an attractive destination for many multinational corporations, which create research centers and carry out clinical trials here.

This is some of the data from the 2022 BioRegion Report, showing why Catalonia has become an attractive ecosystem for international companies looking to grow outside their borders. The “Fast-track Program to Barcelona-Catalonia Life Science Hub”, organized by ACCIÓ and the Government of Catalonia with collaboration from Biocat, is geared towards startups, scaleups and spinoffs of research centers and hospitals in advanced therapies and precision medicine that want to innovate, find partnering opportunities, conduct clinical trials or expand their activity in Catalonia. Thanks to this program structured around training sessions and one-to-one meetings, companies get a better look at the BioRegion ecosystem and the opportunities it has to offer.

During the first session, Meeting Health Sector Leaders, investors and professionals from local and international pharmaceutical companies shared their views and experience on why Catalonia is the perfect ecosystem for advanced therapies projects. Biocat CEO Robert Fabregat opened the session with some encouraging figures on ecosystem investment and growth from the 2022 BioRegion Report. Then Gonzalo de Miquel, vice-president of Therapy Area NF and Bone Metabolism and head of Barcelona Development Hub Alexion at AstraZeneca; Jose Terencio, vice-president of GIANT at Grifols; Gerard Caelles, Chief Business Officer of SpliceBio; and Laura Rodriguez, principal at InvivoCapital, shared their experience in the BioRegion.

The second session, Meeting with Key Innovation Partners, focused on innovation. Professionals from benchmark hospitals and local organizations from the healthcare sector explained how they can benefit from the R&D infrastructure in Catalonia, including collaborations with research partners. In a panel discussion moderated by Àuria Albacete, senior project leader in the Biocat Innovation Department, Esteve Trias, executive medical director at Leitat/Hospital Clinic; Joaquim Delgadillo, strategic planning director for Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products at BST; Josep M. Canals, director of CREATIO UB; Núria Montserrat, IBEC researcher; Montserrat Barceló, vice-president Europe for Veristat; and Albert Barberà, director of the Advanced Therapies Hub and Technology Platforms at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, explained the type of collaborations and synergies created between their centers and local public and private institutions.

The final session, Regulatory, Funding, Market Access and Talent, was moderated by Daniel Martorell, BD director at Catalonia at Bio&Health Tech, and featured Nerea Blanque, SVP Market Access&Pricing at AliraHealth; Ariadna Requena, life sciences technical consultant for FI group; Cristian Atik, associate business partner at Michael Page Healthcare & Life Sciences; and Marc Güell, tenure track professor at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and co-founder and CSO of Integra. The speakers discussed the regulatory framework for accessing European healthcare systems, private and public sources of funding in Catalonia/Spain, and mapped talent in the region in terms of available working population, quality and costs. One of the points highlighted at this event was the need to collaborate with clients, patients associations and payers from the very beginning. To finish off, they debated molecular technology for advanced therapies and the potential of synthetic biology programs.

These are some of the companies with their eye on Catalonia

The companies chosen belong to the advanced therapies and precision medicine subsectors.

  • Achilles Therapeutics (UK) is developing precision T cell therapies that target clonal neoantigens. Neoantigens are protein markers unique to each individual found on the surface of cancer cells that can be detected by the immune system.
  • Aglaris (UK) has developed FACER technology that makes closed manufacturing of cell therapy possible without complications.
  • Allogenica (FR)  has developed a patented biomanufacturing platform for off-the-shelf allogenic CAR-T cells based on manipulation of hematopoietic stem cells and their derivatives.
  • BioCanRx (Canada) is working to increase the number of clinical trials in cancer immunotherapy by accelerating development of immunotherapies for clinical use and applying HTAA in the early phase of the clinical pathway.
  • Chiesi (USA), focuses on gene therapy and is looking for companies that use new therapeutic means to treat rare diseases and do research on viral and non-viral administration methods.
  • Core Biogenesis (FR) is a molecular agriculture company looking to develop and manufacture a full series of growth factors for cell cultures to be used in research, therapies and food.
  • Cytea Bio (FR) has developed and patented a unique, versatile, molecular cell-therapy platform (platform pin™).
  • Cytiva (UK) offers comprehensive solutions for manufacturing advanced therapies.
  • Floating Genes (FR) develops in vitro diagnostic kits to catch cancer early and monitor it using liquid biopsies.
  • HiTech Health (IRL) offers services and CDMO for the ATPM industry.
  • Life Science Group (USA) provides traceable, personalized solutions (knowledge and experience) for LSG divisions: life science production, antibody production services and diagnostic kit services.
  • NKILT (USA) is developing a new approach to engineering natural killer and other immune cells to attack leukemia and solid tumors directly.
  • OrganoTherapeutics (LUX) detects therapeutic efficacy using specific human models for Parkinson patients.
  • Plasticell (UK) develops therapies through precise manipulation of stem cells and more differentiated cell types using award-winning combinatorial screening technology.
  • Roquefort Therapeutics (UK) develops first line oncology drugs.
  • Rora Biologics (USA) is developing a class of newly discovered T cells to make cell therapies longer lasting and safer for patients.
  • StemInov (FR) is developing stem cell therapy for inflammatory diseases, with a first focus on critical care.
  • SV Health Investors (UK), manages a fund that specializes in healthcare and invests in various phases and sectors.


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