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Press release

Catalan healthcare start-ups attract 10 times more international investors than five years ago

  • Between 2015 and 2017, start-ups in the sector raised three times more investment than in the 2013-2015 period, and the figure for 2018 is expected to surpass that of 2017
  • 72% of all venture capital attracted by Catalan start-ups in the sector this year was through rounds of funding with international participants
  • The number of foreign investors in start-ups in the BioRegion of Catalonia has gone from 0 to 50 in 10 years, and grown tenfold since 2013

Biocat has launched the latest edition of the Biocat Report, the benchmark study on the healthcare and life sciences sector in Catalonia. This sector generates €31.087 billion each year and makes up 7.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP). In total, more than 223,000 people are employed in the sector, roughly 7% of all those working in Catalonia.

On average, a new company in the sector is created each week in Catalonia. The sector has 1,060 companies that employ nearly 58,000 workers and have a joint turnover of €17.802 billion, with an average year-on-year growth of 2.4% between 2020 and 2016.

Between 2015 and 2017, Catalan start-ups in the healthcare sector attracted €340 million in investment, three times more than in the 2013-2015 period, through 2014 investment operations. In 2018, companies raised €100.2 million from January to October and the sector is expected to surpass the investment attracted in 2017 this year (€107.3 million).

72% of all venture capital attracted by Catalan start-ups in the sector this year (specifically €42.7 million of a total of €60.9 million) was through rounds of funding with international participants. In addition to specialized local investors like Ysios Capital, Caixa Capital Risc, HealthEquity, Inveready and Alta Life Sciences, the Biocat Report highlights the significant growth in foreign investors committing to Catalan companies in the healthcare sector. In just 10 years, the number of foreign investors participating in these companies has gone from 0 to 50 and over the past five years alone, the figure has increased tenfold. Most of them are from North America.

The capital raised through rounds of investment with international participants has also doubled in recent years, from €85 million in 2013-2015 to €211 million in 2016-2018.


Bringing top-notch science to patients

In terms of GDP and population, Catalonia is comparable to EU countries like Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Austria or Ireland. The region even surpasses these countries in terms of some of the indicators of research success: for example, Catalonia has received just as many grants from the European Research Council (ERC) since 2007 as Belgium and Sweden; and the number of articles published in Nature between 2013 and 2017 signed by researchers from the BioRegion of Catalonia is similar to that of Belgium and greater than that of Austria and Finland.

Catalan biotechnology companies are currently developing 18 potential drugs, 11 more than in 2013. Three potential drugs are already in phase III. "As a result of the sector's evolution, Biocat estimates at least 10 products and advanced technologies developed in the BioRegion of Catalonia will reach patients by 2025," says Biocat CEO Jordi Naval.

The main data from the Biocat Report is reflected in

The full report can be downloaded here.


About Biocat

Biocat is the organization that champions the healthcare and life sciences ecosystem in Catalonia working to transform science and technology into regional economic growth as well as social impact. 


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