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Catalan companies are highly satisfied with the number of meetings held and how well their projects have been received.
The seventh edition of BIO-Europe Spring (BES), the top European biotechnology partnering congress, drew to a close today in Barcelona, where “proposals from Catalan participants were very well received, both in the number of meetings held and the fact that they found partners for their projects,” emphasizes Biocat CEO Montserrat Vendrell.
The congress was organized by the EBD Group with a Local Host Committee headed up by the Barcelona City Council and Biocat, with other members including the Government of Catalonia, Invest in Spain, the Spanish Bioindustry Association (Asebio), CataloniaBIO, the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) and the Barcelona Maritime Museum.
The edition that has finished today has reaffirmed the strategic positioning of the city of Barcelona and the BioRegion of Catalonia on the global stage in the field of biotechnology and biomedicine. Vendrell highlights that "the delegates that have participated in BES unanimously agree that the environment Barcelona offers, as well as the city brand and its life sciences sector, sends a very positive message to the world." They also highly valued "the vibrant community of entrepreneurs here and the fact that there is a joint strategy for the sector, with the involvement of companies and organizations under the leadership of Biocat."
BIO-Europe Spring 2013 has attracted more than 2,000 top-notch executives and investors from 1,219 companies and organizations with links to the life sciences sectors, including large pharmaceutical corporations, spin-offs, innovative biotechnology companies and venture capital firms from 50 countries around the world, and yielded more than 2,000 licensing opportunities. From Catalonia, 58 companies and organizations have participated, with a total of 180 delegates of the 267 from Spain.
According to the EBD Group, participation numbers this year surpassed BES 2010, also held in Barcelona, in number of delegates (1,738 in 2010), companies (1,053) and countries (44).
The business sector has been particularly satisfied with the results achieved. Joël Jean-Mairet, managing partner of Ysios Capital Partners, highlights that this event has served "to get back in touch and make new contacts and, above all, to demonstrate the high quality of science in Spanish companies, which is above-average compared to companies from abroad."
11,000 meetings between companies
Over these three days, 11,000 one-to-one meetings have been held between participating companies, many of which have led to commercial, financial or research agreements. In this sense, Elena Cuatrecasas, partner at Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira, believes that the congress is highly useful because it facilitates meetings that can be very productive. “Of the many meetings we have held, one large pharmaceutical corporation and a venture capital investor are interested in our services,” she explains.
Additionally, Jordi Sabé, director of Corporate Development and Licensing at pharmaceutical company Almirall, highlights that "the more than 80 meetings we have held wouldn’t have been possible in another context.” He also explains that “they help further integrate corporate development into our business model and consolidate our growth. The most recent example is a drug that has come out of our own research, Eklira (alcidine), to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and that, through agreements, now covers 90% of the global COPD market."
Also notable are the contacts established by Marco Pugliese, CEO of Neurotec Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing new treatments for diseases of the central nervous system. “We’ve been able to meet with international pharmaceutical corporations that may be interested in carrying out phase III development on a new drug for multiple sclerosis. The clinical trial we are conducting in patients will finish in September and we’ll have the first results in November, which we can send to the pharmaceutical companies that have shown interest,” he explains.
Carlos Buesa, CEO of Oryzon, a company devoted to the discovery of biomarkers for in vitro diagnostics and therapeutic programs in oncology and neurodegenerative diseases, confirms that at BIO-Europe "we have been in touch with the most important investors and international pharmaceutical corporations in the epigenetics sector.”
Furthermore, Isabel Amat, Business Development manager at RJ Biotec Sevices, a leading provider of drug development, production and marketing services, highlights the numerous contacts made at the congress with American, Japanese and European companies and, in particular, with an Austrian company “interested in our global services for biological development and clinical batch manufacturing, which allow for phase I, II and III drug trials in humans.”
The fact that BIO-Europe Spring has been held in Barcelona has enabled small Catalan start-ups to participate, like ASCIL Biopharm. According to their representative Laurence Lachamp, participating in BES 2013 "has allowed us to raise awareness of our company, both in one-to-one meetings, which have been very beneficial, and during the presentation we gave this morning on our activity and pipeline before an international audience.”
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