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“Increasing Catalonia’s international projection as an ideal environment for research and innovative business initiatives in the field of biosciences and helping companies achieve their goals at the convention,” are the two key objectives set by Biocat, according to CEO Montserrat Vendrell, for the BIO International Convention that opened its doors today in Washington. This is the global benchmark event in the biotechnology sector, which brings together more than 15,000 delegates from nearly 1,700 companies from around the world, which expect to hold more than 20,000 meetings to find new partners to develop their products, investors or companies that want to buy their patents or license their products.

Catalonia is represented by 42 companies and 17 organizations, which make up the delegation led by Biocat. This Bioregion has, by far, the greatest weight in the Spanish pavilion. This pavilion, coordinated by ICEX in collaboration with Asebio, Genoma España and three Bioregions (Catalonia, Andalusia and the Basque Country), is made up of a total of 120 groups, including companies and organizations: 13 from the Andalusian delegation, 29 from the Basque Country and 17 from other regions under the ICEX umbrella.

Catalan companies participating in BIO “primarily seek out partners to develop their products, which are in the early stages of research, although there are also companies presenting finished products that are ready for marketing, which are looking for companies to license them or local partners that will allow them to obtain FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval in order to move into the American market,” explains Montserrat Vendrell. “The value of an event like the BIO convention is also that it brings together sector representatives from around the world and allows companies to meet possible partners from across the globe in a very short time and in a highly focused setting.”

Some companies in the Catalan delegation aim to establish contacts during the fair that will help their landing process in the United States. These include companies like Aromics, Intelligent Pharma, Janus Developments and Trifermed, which expect to open branches in the Boston area (Massachusetts) between 2012 and 2013. Other companies, like Advancell, Bionure, GP-Pharma, Oryzon Genomics and Reig Jofré, are participating in the fair in order to present new products that have already undergone the first stages of development or that have obtained approval for sale in Europe and need strategic partners to move forward on clinical trials or to overcome the regulatory requirements to be marketed in the United States, as this country now makes up 60% of the global biopharmaceutical market.

In addition to the opportunity to network, the BIO Convention also offers more than 125 sessions (conferences and roundtables with experts) that cover the different challenges and key issues facing professionals in the sector. Large American companies are particularly concerned about the difficulties in gaining approval for new medications and are demanding urgent reform of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), which is the body responsible for regulating this market in the United States. The leaders of BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization), which promotes the convention, are also concerned that the current legal framework in a number of countries makes it difficult to apply breakthroughs in biotechnology research to agriculture and industry. Biofuel, biosafety, patents and technology transfer, new drugs, regulatory issues and funding are some of the tracks the sessions are organized around. One track is devoted to international case studies, which will include a session entitled Spain’s R&D Facilities, the Driving Force of an Innovation Ecosystem (Wednesday 29), with participation from Biocat CEO Montserrat Vendrell and representatives from other Spanish bioregions.

A keynote luncheon featuring former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be held on Tuesday 28, after the official inauguration of the convention exhibit zone, where the Catalan delegation has 27 company stands and an institutional Biocat stand (shared by 15 companies and 17 institutions).

That same evening, Biocat will hold a reception with the Johns Hopkins Tech Transfer Center. These two bodies have recently signed a collaboration agreement that will be presented at the reception, which will allow Catalan technicians to be trained at the American center, among other issues.

Contact in Washington:
Silvia Labé • M. +34 662 315 400 •
Adela Farré • M. +34 626 992 057 •

Contact in Barcelona:
Press office • M. +34 662 315 523 •

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Silvia LabéDirector of Marketing, Communications and Competitive Intelligence
Laura Diéguez
Laura DiéguezHead of Media Relations and Content(+34) 606 81 63
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