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Biocat to coordinate future Advanced Therapies Hub of Catalonia

A project that aims to position the BioRegion as the leading European Hub in Advanced Therapies (cell, gene and tissue), featuring a key element: the new Centre Nacional de Teràpies Avançades, as the Government of Catalonia announced today. 

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11.11.2022

Catalan Minister of Health Manel Balcells announced in a press conference today that the Government will be creating the Centre Nacional de Teràpies Avançades (CNTA), a facility that will work to connect the industrial fabric and the generation of advanced therapies under the framework of the public health and research and innovation systems. The Blood and Tissue Bank will be in charge of coordinating the shaping of the new center, which will present its operating plan in February 2023. . 

The new Centre Nacional de Teràpies Avançades will help boost hospitals’ capacity to do clinical trials on these therapies and establish the process for development and industrial scale-up. Advanced therapies, from a regulatory standpoint, are drugs for human use based on cell (cell therapy), genes (gene therapy) or tissues (tissue engineering) that regenerate tissue, treat inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and treat cancer, among other things. 

During his speech, the Minister also announced that Biocat will be coordinating this future Hub of Advanced Therapies. “Also, to carry out the project, Biocat will be in charge of identifying and aligning all the public and private stakeholders in the BioRegion to secure the whole value chain needed to develop these technologies, from generation to access to the healthcare system and market.” 
 

 

According to Biocat CEO Robert Fabregat, the Advanced Therapies Hub has great international potential because “the global trend is to make a clear commitment and investment in developing personalized, advanced therapies based on bioengineering processes, and Catalonia has the essential ingredients to be a leader in this field.” The Biocat CEO highlighted that the organization will also work to promote the strategic initiatives the system needs, searching for the funding necessary to carry them out (e.g. current ISCIII and CDTI calls) while promoting and ramping up public-private partnership to reach deals with pharmaceutical companies on industrial development.
 

4 ingredients to position the BioRegion as the leading European Advanced Therapies hub

It is no coincidence that the Government has committed to creating an Advanced Therapies Hub in Catalonia with the new Centre Nacional de Teràpies Avançades (CNTA) at its core. The BioRegion has the key traits to become a global benchmark in this field:

  1. Catalonia has a very high level of science in advanced therapies and bioengineering, comparable to other benchmark countries in Europe in terms of scientific production.
     
  2. The BioRegion has a top-notch clinical and hospital fabric, with great potential for conducting research and innovative clinical trials. Some examples include the Hospital Clínic and Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, two of Spain’s most groundbreaking centers in developing their own CAR-T technology with encouraging results. 
     
  3. Furthermore, there is an ecosystem of startups and investors in biotechnology that is growing exponentially and is highly competitive Europe-wide (see 2021 BioRegion Report).
     
  4. Catalonia is the leading region in Spain, with 60% of all research in this field and half of all the global benchmark hospitals.

 

A strategic project for some time now 

The Advanced Therapies Hub has been consolidated with this agreement to create the new Centre Nacional de Teràpies Avançades (CNTA), but this project has been in the works for nearly two years now. The Government of Catalonia submitted a proposal for the NextGenerationEU funds to develop an advanced therapies hub as a recovery and resilience plan to counteract the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

It was one of the three focal points of the ‘Salut 2030’ project, which sought to mobilize €2 billion to promote the ecosystem’s industry and pipeline, consolidate and scale up the innovative fabric in the BioRegion and transform the health system in Catalonia.

In this regard, the Catalan Minister of Health shared that €60 million has been earmarked for the project over the coming three years, however it will also apply for competitive grants and other calls for strategic projects to develop and implement advanced therapies, providing access to other sources of funding (e.g. PERTE Health, ERDF, etc.).