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Barcelona, 14 June 2017. A total of 30 Catalan companies and organizations are going to be at the BIO International Convention this year. The top partnering fair for the biomedical sector will be held this year from 19 to 22 June at the San Diego Convention Center (California, United States). The Catalan delegation, coordinated by Biocat, is made of up eight biotechnology firms working in therapies and diagnostics, seven devoted to research and development services, six pharmaceutical corporations, one professional services and consultancy firm, one venture capital firm and seven organizations.

The BioRegion of Catalonia will have its own space, with more than 30 square meters, where five Catalan companies will have their own booths to boost visibility. For Trifermed, one of these five companies, BIO is one of the three main strategic healthcare events in the world. “Between the BIO partnering activities and the booth in the BioRegion of Catalonia pavilion, we can easily manage all our potential meetings,” explains TrifermedCBDO CEO Sergi Trilla. Simone Calzolari, CTO of ZeClinics, says the company “aims to boost its international visibility as a benchmark in high-quality biotechnology services for pharmaceutical corporations, academia and other biotechnology companies.” BCN Peptides will also have its own booth and Sales Manager Jordi Piró explains the company “is scouting for collaborators to develop Parentide, a long-lasting analgesic peptide.” Piró adds that “the company will begin a phase II clinical trial in September to assess the efficacy of Parentide in treating post-op neuropathic pain.”

Director of Business Development at Oryzon Genomics Emili Torrell explains that the fair allows the company to maintain its visibility among technology profiles who conduct top-notch research. “BIO allows you to meet with people you run into over the years and get the latest on research activities and collaboration or licensing opportunities,” he adds. Torrell indicates that his main goal at this year’s event is to “sell projects to investors and for them to be well received.” The fifth company that will have its own booth is Salvat Biotech, which wants to “improve its product portfolio and expand the geographic footprint of its licensing opportunities in ENT, ophthalmology, gastroenterology and consumer health products.” Francesc Rosell, director of international corporate development for the company, adds that they will be seeking out new associations to benefit their assets, especially in the United States, and to provide support through its R&D expertise to start-ups and pharmaceutical companies interested in developing their products. In the main fair space, Grifols will also have its own booth.

Some of the companies in the Catalan delegation have now participated in more than five editions of the BIO International Convention, like Bioibérica and GP Pharm. GP Pharm Business Development Manager Alex de la Fuente explains that the company aims to “contact pharmaceutical companies in the sector to explore possible licensing agreements for products in urology and oncology.” He adds that “GP Pharm is interested in possible CDMO collaborations to share its extensive experience in developing and manufacturing injectable products with third parties.” Ability Pharmaceuticals will also be joining the delegation with its drug for lung and endometrial cancer in phase II. The company aims to “meet with large pharmaceutical corporations that have been following the project and scout for new partners to license the product in new regions,” explains Albert Marofà, business development and licensing manager for the company.

Nostrum Biodiscovery is one of the companies visiting the fair for the first time and CEO Josep Oriol Nicolás says, “Our main goals at BIO this year will be to boost the company’s international expansion and scout for investors to strengthen the drug-design projects we are working on.” Pharmacelera is another of the first-timers at BIO this year, aiming to “make contact with possible clients and forge bonds with future partners” to complement their technology, says CEO Enric Gibert. Additionally, Biokit Director of Innovation Marta Palacio explains that they are looking for “new biomarkers and technology that can be applied to the company’s products and processes” and that their model is focused on “establishing collaboration and licensing deals with companies and research centers.”

BIO veterans Readycell are looking to boost their presence in the United States, “taking advantage to consolidate established relationships and detect new potential clients and collaborators in this region,” explains Products and Operations Manager Miquel Arrieta. Spherium Biomed is also heading back this year and hopes to find “international partners to license clinical or preclinical projects, as well as continuing their systematic assessment and acquisition of portfolios from universities and research centers around the world,” says Maribel Berges, managing partner and CFO/CBDO. Iproteos CEO Teresa Tarragó sums up the company’s goals at BIO this year: “To promote our technology platform among pharmaceutical corporations in the sector and forge contacts with investors and companies interested in our project to treat the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.”

Olga Rue, CEO of Archivel Farma, explains that by participating in BIO they aim to present the project they are working on “to potential partners in order to reach co-development and commercial licensing deals for the RUTI vaccine.” Thrombotargets Strategic Alliances Director Ignasi Miquel explains that the company’s aim is to “advance conversations underway with several potential licensees and scout for new ones to make sure the main regions of the world are covered in terms of our product TT-173, a topical hemostatic medication to stop hemorrhaging on the operating table, based on recombinant human tissue factor, currently in phase II/III of clinical development.” Montserrat Vendrell, partner at Alta Life Sciences, explains they aim to meet “with companies from Spain and abroad, contact international investors and attend the conferences and panels discussing the latest trends in the sector.”

Esteve says they are “looking for innovative treatments for unmet medical needs with a clear market advantage in therapeutic areas like ophthalmology, CNS, cardiovascular, diabetes, respiratory and pain.” The company’s Corporate Developer Marc Parés adds that they are also looking for new partners in the United States. Jordi Sabé, senior vice-president of Almirall, explains that “these international congresses are a great opportunity to consolidate our position as the global partner of choice in medical and aesthetic dermatology, as well as strengthening ties with patients and clients around the world.”

Representatives of the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) will also be traveling to San Diego. Anna Serra, director of Commercialization and Communications, explains that the PCB’s “main goals are to present the spaces and services it offers to the biotechnology community around the world, as well as the investment fund it is working on to cover the costs of adapting new spaces. Moreover, BIO will allow the PCB to raise awareness of its activities and introduce itself as one of the most important hubs in the Catalan life sciences ecosystem.” Likewise, the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) intends to “promote technology transfer from the CRG through licensing or collaboration deals with companies in the sector.” Pablo Cironi, head of the CRG Technology Transfer Office, says they have set up meetings with potential investors. Laia Arnal, director of business development at the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute Foundation (VHIR), explains that “BIO is a great international showcase for the best biotechnology activities carried out at VHIR. We will promote our technology and inventions to scout for potential licensees, partners and investors interested in marketing them.”

Thiago Oliveira Bothelho, industrial liaison officer for the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), says that BIO has “enormous potential, a great opportunity to reach many companies outside of Europe where we hope to find new collaborations by presenting the IRB’s technology and capacities.” Oliveira adds that the fair “is also the perfect place to catch up on the latest trends in the sector and strengthen existing bonds, both in the public and private sphere.” Institute for Health Science Research Germans Tries i Pujol (IGTP) hopes its presence at the fair will allow them “to present the institute and its technology portfolio on an international level, as well as meeting with potential licensees for the IGTP’s technology, forging collaborations and contacting investors and other stakeholders in the sector.”

Others participating in the Catalan delegation include the Catalan government agency Catalonia Trade & Investment (through their New York office) and companies Intelligent Pharma, Uriach, and Grupo Ferrer Internacional.

Biocat presents the BioRegion to the world: epicenter of innovation and many reasons to invest

Those attending the fair this year will have the opportunity to enjoy days full of top-notch partnering activities. During the day, they can hold one-on-one meetings with CEOs from biotech and pharma companies around the world and attend various keynote conferences on the fair grounds. At night, receptions are held to foster the meetings that most interest participants.

The BioRegion has prepared several events in order to raise awareness of the healthcare and life sciences sector in Catalonia. Biocat is coordinating two key events to promote Catalan companies, starting on Monday 19 with the International Cancer Cluster Showcase (ICCS). This satellite event under the BIO umbrella will feature partners Catalonia Trade & Investment and Biocat, allowing several international bioregions to share their latest news in the field of oncology and present cutting-edge business projects. There will be presentations from clusters and companies, as well as a networking reception. Biocat will present the main assets of the BioRegion of Catalonia. Later, two Catalan companies will share their most innovative business projects in oncology: Ability Pharmaceuticals and ZeClinics.

In order to highlight the opportunities available in the BioRegion for companies around the world and attract foreign investment to the country, on Wednesday 21 Biocat will participate in the Global Innovation Hub explaining the 5 main reasons for attracting foreign investment to Catalonia.

Also on Wednesday, participants will have the opportunity to attend the presentation given by Oryzon Genomics. This company is a European leader in developing innovative epigenetic therapies and has a corporate office in the United States. The organizers of the fair are highlighting their work in epigenetics as a highly competitive and productive tool, applauding their efforts to develop solutions that help patients with serious diseases and unmet medical needs, such as those resulting from cancer and neurodegenerative or neuroinflammatory diseases.

On Monday 19, the Spanish delegation is coordinating a panel discussion entitled Biotech IP for Business Development Licensing & Fund-raising, featuring noteworthy figures from the biotechnology industry, venture capital funds and royalty funding entities to debate the importance of intellectual property in business development. ICEX is also organizing a Hospitality Reception for all of the delegates in the Spanish Pavilion on Tuesday 20. Also under the framework of the fair, on Wednesday 21 the Spanish delegation will meet with the Official Delegation of the State of Texas. This meeting will be led by Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos and Bryan Daniel, director of Economic Development and Tourism for the Governor’s Office. The event aims to explain the opportunities available in the state of Texas to companies in the biotechnology and life sciences sector.

BioRegion of Catalonia, unstoppable growth

The healthcare and life sciences sector in Catalonia is experiencing ongoing growth. According to the latest figures from the Biocat directory, regarding private organizations, the BioRegion has 871 companies: 249 biotechnology firms, 51 pharmaceutical corporations, 89 innovative medical technology companies, 91 healthtech firms, 218 suppliers and engineering companies, 144 professional services and consulting firms, and 29 investment firms active in the healthcare and life sciences. The BioRegion also has 14 science and technology parks, 12 universities and 104 hospitals, 18 of which are university hospitals (Source: Biocat Directory, February 2017). The sector has more than 100,000 highly qualified professionals.

Despite being one of the smallest countries in Europe by population, Catalonia is among the four European countries with more companies in the health sector per capita. Specifically, is the first largest pharmaceutical companies per capita in Europe. Catalonia is also the 3rd European country in biotechnology companies per capita (behind Sweden and Switzerland) and 4th in medical technology companies (behind Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark).


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