The companies of the BioRegion generate 5.8% of the GDP of Catalonia
The Minister of Health, Boi Ruiz, presided over the presentation of the third staging of the Biocat report, under the title A Commitment to Value and Growth, which took place on 3rd December at the DHUB Building in Barcelona. Present at the event was Antonio Parente, Deputy Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of Biocat, and Roland Wandeler, CEO of Amgen, sponsor of this edition of the Report.
The document analyses the state of the biotechnology sector, biomedicine and medical technologies and represents an indispensable tool to improve international recognition of the BioRegion.
According to the report, the Catalan BioRegion has 512 companies — almost double that for 2000 — 56 research centres with activities in life sciences or related disciplines, 17 university hospitals and 11 universities that offer training in biosciences. In addition, it has two large research infrastructures, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS) and the ALBA -CELLS synchrotron, 118 scientific-technical platforms, 12 technology centres and 16 science and technology parks with activity in Biosciences, where 24% of the companies of the BioRegion are located.
The largest group of businesses are the 194 biotechnology companies. In addition, there are 40 pharmaceutical, 54 medical technology companies, 105 suppliers and engineering companies and 96 professional services and consulting companies. Catalonia has 20% of the companies that carry out R&D in biotechnology in Spain, with human health as the main area of research.
An income of 11,527 million euros
The operating income of the BioRegion is around 11,527 billion euros, a figure that represents a contribution of 5.8% to the GDP of Catalonia. In total, the companies in the sector employ 33,689 workers, while there are 7,200 people in the workforce of the 56 research centres, 4,500 of whom are researchers.
In terms of spending on R+D, the Catalan biotechnology companies attract 154.8 billion euros, coming mainly from shareholder equity (71%), compared to 14% contributed by the public administration.
And one of the aspects made clear in the Biocat 2013 Report is exactly this drastic reduction in public support: between 2009 and 2013 they have suffered heavy reductions, with falls of between 50% and 75%. At the same time, venture capital investment has increased five-fold (from 5.67 million euros in 2009 to 25.6 million euros in 2013).
The study also highlights the increasing role that large Catalan biopharmaceutical companies are taking in funding the research of small biotech companies.
Leadership in Spain
However, Catalonia is still the leader in research in Spain: researchers working in the BioRegion received 52% of all support granted to the country by the European Research Council (ERC); in addition, six Catalan centres have been recognised as "Severo Ochoa" centres of excellence, out of a total of 13 in Spain, and Catalonia produces 25.76% of the scientific publications of the country.
Catalan scientific institutions have been behind the creation of 54 spin-offs in the Bioscience field between 2000 and 2013, despite the fact that the number of patents granted remains small in comparison to other countries in the region.
The Biocat report 2013 has had the collaboration of a dozen experts from the business sector and the research that, through 12 articles and two interviews, has analysed various aspects of the changes which the sector is experiencing.
Although there is room for improvement, the report makes clear that the BioRegion has maintained its leading position in the country in terms of biomedical and biotechnological research and investigation, as well as confirming that it is the most important biocluster in Spain and one of the benchmarks for southern Europe.