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Barcelona, March 15, 2024.- Barcelona is once again the European epicenter of the international biopharmaceutical community, hosting BIO-Europe Spring. On March 18, 19 and 20, 2024, the city will host the most important partnering congress for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry in Europe for the fourth time. 

Barcelona has hosted three previous editions of BIO-Europe Spring, in 2010, 2013 and 2017, and always sees great Catalan and international turnout, making it a key gathering for the sector. The 18th edition of this congress expects to welcome a noteworthy delegation of professionals and companies based in Catalonia, with 150 delegates from 90 companies and organizations, making up 50% of all Spanish participation. In total, the organizers expect to see record turnout, with over 3,700 executives from 1,440 companies based all over the world, who will hold more than 20,000 one-to-one meetings.

Biocat CEO Robert Fabregat highlighted that hosting this type of events in Barcelona boosts the chances of doing business with international partners. “Attracting so many professionals from the sector based all over the world to Barcelona is a great opportunity for all Catalan companies and startups for networking, business development, investor scouting and boosting their international presence.”

The Director General of Industry of the Government of Catalonia, Oriol Alcoba, said that "hosting this type of event helps us to consolidate Catalonia's position as a reference point as an epicentre of life sciences and health. This is an area where Catalonia is constantly driving innovation at the business level, with an ecosystem of start-ups in which healthtech is the sector with the greatest activity, representing 17% of the total, and with an increasing number of start-ups coming out of universities and research centres".

On the other hand, according to the Deputy Mayor for Economy, Finance, Economic Promotion and Tourism of the Barcelona City Council Jordi Valls "The BIO-Europe Spring Congress, which brings together the main players in the field of the biopharmaceutical industry, once again consolidates Barcelona as a scientific and innovation capital in Europe, The BIO-Europe Fair not only provides a valuable platform for connecting industry leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs, but also opens up new opportunities for knowledge exchange, strategic collaboration and the development of partnerships that will further boost health innovation in our city. "

Biocat is heading up the Regional Host Committee, with the Government of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council, joined by other noteworthy organizations and companies from the sector like AseBio, Itemas, Asabys Partners, Aliath Bioventures, Invivo Capital, Inveready and Ysios Capital. This year, Catalonia will have its own space in the exhibition area to raise awareness of the ecosystem’s most important assets, and to reaffirm its position as one of the top healthcare innovation hubs in Europe. 


Magnet for foreign investment

The fair is an excellent opportunity to reaffirm the strategic position of Catalonia and Barcelona as a leading international business center in the life sciences and healthcare, attract foreign investment and take advantage of the benefits for hosts and local companies both before and during the congress. This year, BIO-Europe Spring will bring 3,700 delegates to Barcelona, 2% more than the previous edition in Basel (Switzerland), and 47% more than the 2017 edition in Barcelona, which had over 2,500 delegates from 1,440 companies and organizations.

EBD Europe Portfolio Director Claire Macht explained, “EBD is delighted to return to Barcelona for the fourth time with BIO-Europe Spring. The event attracts decision-makers from young, innovative companies and the partnering activity that we are seeing, with scheduled meetings up by 6%, shows they are in Barcelona ready to do business.”

Participants will have three days to meet privately with other international executives and business developers. Although the partnering is the highlight of BIO-Europe Spring, the event also includes over 100 conferences and debates on key topics for the sector featuring many Catalan speakers, as well as activities to promote networking among participants.

For the congress, Biocat is holding a panel on advanced therapies titled “Paving the path for groundbreaking ATMPs”, where representatives from the industry, regulatory bodies, hospitals and investors will explain why the ecosystem needs to be well prepared for the next wave of innovative therapies. Other sessions with a noteworthy Catalan presence include “Talent is the new gravity: lessons from Barcelona”, “Unleashing healthcare: the power of AI, data, and personalized therapies” and “Startup Stories, how it started, how it is going”. Plus, three Catalan companies will have the chance to pitch to international industry leaders in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and finance. 

The Biocat booth will offer a program of breakout activities including networking breakfasts with participants from England and Wales, a presentation on the European INNAXE project, a cocktail party to present the Catalan ecosystem and an event to pass the baton to Milan, which will be the host city for the 2025 congress.


BioRegion of Catalonia, unstoppable growth

The life sciences and healthcare sector in Catalonia continues to see steady growth in macroeconomic, innovation, research and investment indicators. According to the 2023 BioRegion of Catalonia Report, the sector accounted for 7.9% of the 2022 Catalan GDP and has over 1,400 companies that employ 264,000 people (6.5% of the working population of Catalonia).

In terms of research, Catalonia is among the top 10 countries in the world in number of participations in active clinical trials and 5th in Europe. On the world stage, Catalonia is ranked 8th. The sector pipeline currently has 73 therapies in development. These stand out in a wide range of clinical areas, led by oncology, the central nervous system and dermatology.

In terms of foreign investment, Catalonia and the Barcelona metropolitan area see a constant influx of new international innovation centers and multinational corporations. In the past 5 years, 25 new hubs of excellence have been set up, including one by AstraZeneca, which helped set new records in direct foreign investment and new jobs created in 2023.

Investment in health startups and scaleups in Catalonia has shown steady growth (not considering the outlier of 2022), with €220 million in 2023. Venture capital remains the main source of funding, driven mainly by international investment (58%). Biotechnology firms attract more investment than any other segment, with €110 million in 2023 though noteworthy operations like OM Biotech (€17 million), Nuage Therapeutics (€12 million) and Oryzon Genomics (€8 million).

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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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