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The event brought together more than a hundred advanced therapies stakeholders in Catalonia. Image / Biocat.

Advanced Therapies Network of Catalonia kicks off

Biocat presented today the Advanced Therapies Network, coordinated by the organization, based in the Barcelona Science Park, to promote the research and development of innovative medicines and accelerate their arrival to patients. A total of 45 companies and entities have already joined this initiative, which will project the BioRegion of Catalonia as a global benchmark hub in health.

The event brought together more than a hundred representatives from various advanced therapies stakeholders in Catalonia: startups and scaleups, production centers, investment funds, hospitals, universities and research centers, companies and the Healthcare System.

The Advanced Therapies Network is a project the Government of Catalonia entrusted to Biocat in 2022 in order to drive the advanced therapies ecosystem in Catalonia to ensure patients have access to therapeutic solutions and increase the number of clinical trials in this arena. The initiative will also encourage industrial development and boost the economic and social impact of this strategic value-added sector.

Catalonia, leader in advanced therapies

The presentation highlighted several indicators that support the importance and impact of advanced therapies in Catalonia. The region leads the national ranking in scientific publications (2,195 or 38% of the total) and, in Europe and the world, Catalonia is a benchmark in participating in advanced therapies clinical trials, ranked fifth in Europe and eighth in the world. It has also received more funding (64% of the total) than any other autonomous community in the CERTERA call, demonstrating Catalonia’s leadership in developing advanced therapies in Spain.

Challenges ahead

Although the indicators show the ecosystem’s potential in the field of advanced therapies, now it is important to tackle some of its challenges to improve the whole value chain in advanced therapies development: training and retaining talent in this field, technology transfer and acceleration of projects and companies, scale up and market access for this type of drugs, relations with the healthcare system and public-private partnerships.

Creation of working groups and project launches

To address these challenges, Biocat will coordinate the project and will kick off various initiatives to meet the objectives of the Network. Biannual assemblies will be organized to facilitate communication and cooperation among the different Network members, and specific working groups will be created to address some of the previously mentioned challenges (talent, scaling, public-private collaboration models, relationship with the Health System, and access to citizens).

Additionally, within the framework of the Network, concrete projects will be developed, such as a three-year acceleration program for companies and projects in advanced therapies, the Advanced and Emerging Therapies in Health Program of Catalonia coordinated by the Blood and Tissue Bank (BST), and a members-only website to compile information related to the working groups and learn about the work and services offered by each entity. Biocat will also act as a connecting agent to identify opportunities and strategic initiatives in national and European public calls.