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Catalonia has become a global benchmark, participating in 5,308 clinical trials underway, ranked fifth in Europe, behind France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, and eighth in the world, a ranking led by the United States, Canada and China. Looking just at Spain, Catalonia’s participation in trials is noteworthy with 88.5% of all those carried out.

In terms of clinical areas, one stands out above the rest: oncology, which makes up 34% of all clinical trials Catalonia takes part in. Other remarkable specializations that put the region among the top in the world include the immune, respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular and digestive systems, dermatology, hematology, mental health and metabolic diseases. Phase I trials make up 20% of the total, while 36% are phase II and 40%, phase III.

diapo-assajos-clincs_eng_0.pngGraph: 2023 BioRegion of Catalonia Report

Catalonia is also a leader in advanced and emerging therapies clinical trials, ranked fifth in Europe and eighth in the world. The Catalan centers with the most studies underway are Hospital Clinic, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and Bellvitge University Hospital, in that order, concentrating more than 70% of all active trials. Within Spain, Catalonia takes part in nearly all the studies conducted in this field (91%).

This leadership in clinical trials is mainly due to a solid healthcare system, highly competitive hospitals with top-notch clinical facilities, a favorable regulatory framework, growing patient recruitment and world renowned healthcare professionals in many clinical fields. These qualities have encouraged the pharmaceutical industry to make a firm commitment to Catalan hospitals and institutes to conduct their clinical research and develop their most innovative treatments. In fact, 76% of the trials carried out in Catalonia are funded by the pharmaceutical industry. By number of trials, multinational pharmaceutical corporations like Novartis, Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, GSK, Sanofi, Lilly, Janssen, MSD and Abbvie are the main sponsors.

On the other hand, the remaining 24% of non-commercial clinical trials are sponsored by academic or hospital institutions, scientific associations or clinical researchers, without industry backing, addressing a practical clinical need instead of commercial interests. In Catalonia, the main sponsors are Hospital Clinic, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Hospital del Mar, Bellvitge University Hospital and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu.

diapo-assajos-clincs-2_eng_0.pngSource: 2023 BioRegion of Catalonia Report

For Biocat CEO Robert Fabregat, “In recent years, Catalonia has become one of the main drivers of clinical trials on a global scale. In order to continue to be benchmarks in the entire value chain, we must combine this leadership in R&D with a firm commitment in the field of scaling up and production of these therapies.” 

Biocat is sharing these figures for International Clinical Trials Day, which is held each year on May 20 to commemorate the day James Lind started the first study of this type in 1747. It is a day to remember the importance of health research, helping find new ways to improve treatments and quality of life for people with diseases. 

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