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Bio€quity being held in Barcelona for the first time and the ‘Here comes your lead’ acceleration program, among the most noteworthy milestones of the year
Biocat has published its 2019 Report of activities, which compiles the main projects, initiatives and indicators for a year in which the institution continued working to scale up the BioRegion and make it one of the international benchmark ecosystems in healthcare and the life sciences. To this end, several programs were consolidated to develop professional talent, to share the sector’s knowledge, for innovation, to accelerate projects and companies, and for the international positioning of the BioRegion. “The strength of the innovation, international positioning and magnetism for attracting talent and investment that is clear in these pages is a driving force for a first-rate country in knowledge, one that hopes to lead solutions and to be a benchmark for generations to come,” writes President of the Government of Catalonia Quim Torra in his welcome letter for the report.
One of the most noteworthy events of 2019 took place in May, with Barcelona hosting Bio€quity, the main event for investors devoted to the European biopharmaceutical industry, for the first time ever. The conference brought together 361 companies (59 from Catalonia) and 597 delegates from 26 countries, hosting over 2,025 one-to-one meetings to explore new business opportunities. “Barcelona wasn’t chosen at random: excellent science, network of local investors and an extensive representation of specialized companies guaranteed an event that showed that the BioRegion has become a priority destination for biotechnology investment in Europe,” highlights Biocat CEO Jordi Naval in his welcome letter for the Report.
In the field of acceleration, in 2019 Biocat launched a new program called Here comes your lead, in order to help accelerate the drug discovery process. The event used the marketplace model, with 31 projects participating that held 85 meetings with 7 national and international platforms, CROs and big pharma corporations.
Another noteworthy program was The Investment Readiness Series, an initiative that puts specialized international investors in contact with a portfolio of over 800 innovative projects and start-ups. Of the three editions held in Barcelona in 2019, one focused on the French market. Over the course of the year, TIRS facilitated nearly 150 significant interactions among potential investors and entrepreneurs or researchers from the BioRegion.
Looking to the future, in light of the current Covid-19 situation, in his letter Naval says it is time to “bank on the potential of the BioRegion” and highlights some of the main challenges we will have to tackle to do so: “Maintain our extraordinary level of research and innovation, show return on investment in local talent, and break down fiscal barriers to attract more foreign capital.” In the same line, Torra also notes: “Because our R&D system is cutting edge, we have a responsibility to lead solutions to the challenges we are facing, both here at home and globally, which at this transcendental time are one and the same.”