The Barcelona Science Park sees all-time record in new companies and occupancy
The Barcelona Science Park (PCB), in 2021 and the first two months of 2022, attracted 25 companies and nearly all of its furnished spaces are occupied (98%), consolidating its place among the most important hubs in Europe in the life sciences and healthcare arena.
Currently, 92% of the total surface area for clients (32,955 m2) is occupied (21,061 m2 of laboratory space and 9,309 m2 of office space) which is up 9% from the end of the previous year. The total investment to furnish new spaces was approximately €1.9 million, of which the Park contributed €0,5 million and the remaining €1.1 million by clients’ investment.
Since 2012, when the final building (Clúster II) was completed, the Park began a period of growth, with 3,652 m2 of new offices and 7,352 m2 of new labs. The Clúster II building is currently 89% occupied. However, the vacant spaces are still unfurnished.
25 entrepreneurial projects with an impact on society
In just over a year, from January 2021 to February 2022, the increase in labs and offices made it possible to welcome 25 new companies from the life sciences and healthcare sector to the Park.
Four of the new companies, Aptadel Therapeutics, MiMark Diagnostics, Nuage Therapeutics and OneChain Immunotherapeutics, began their activity at the Park through BCN Health Booster, an accelerator that kicked off in November 2021 and is promoted by the Barcelona Science Park and the Barcelona City Council, with collaboration from Barcelona Activa and support from Biocat.
The others are AdBio Partners, Devsynthesis, Draconis Pharma, Fertinagro Biotech, IMIDomics, Inbrain Neuroelectronics, Labin, Millhouse International, NIVD-BCN, oloBion, Omniscope, Real Deal Milk, Rejuveron Senescence Therapeutics, Seritech, Solitek, Tyris Therapeutics and Zip Solutions.
Four new companies joined the Park as associated companies: G&L Scientific Spain, Hemostatics Pharmaceutical, Gate2Brain and Prous Institute for Biomedical Research.
The 25 new companies occupy 1,500 m2 of office and laboratory space in a community that now has 130 members.
“The Park has closed a record year and is kicking off 2022 with new members joining our community at a very strong pace, with various company profiles: highly innovative spin-offs and start-ups with discovery projects for therapeutic products or diagnostic tools, as well as consolidated companies that have chosen our centre or foreign companies that have decided to establish their European subsidiary at the PCB. The Park’s dynamic growth over the past four years is another indicator of the growth and consolidation of the health sciences sector,” explains Barcelona Science Park CEO Maria Terrades.
Return on society’s investment in research
Most of the new incorporations are emerging companies with a great deal of innovation and social impact, small teams, the need for laboratory space and high growth potential. However, the group also included consolidated companies and organisations just landing in Europe that have selected the BioRegion, and specifically the Park. On average, the companies have five employees each, although some have over 30.
Seven of the new companies to join the Park are spin-offs created from technology and projects developed at public universities, hospitals and research centres of excellence: Aptadel Therapeutics (Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, IDIBELL), Gate2Brain (Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Sant Joan de Déu Foundation, IRB Barcelona and University of Barcelona); IMIDomics, (Vall d’Hebron University Hospital-VHIR), Inbrain (Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, ICN2); MiMark (Vall d’Hebron University Hospital-VHIR), Nuage Therapeutics (IRB Barcelona) and OneChain (Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute).
Female leadership and international dimension
These 25 companies bring 115 new individuals to the community, 43% of which are women and 30% of which are foreign nationals. This proportion is in line with the existing PCB community, which is currently made up of nearly 3,000 professionals, 55% women and 18% foreigners.
Of the new companies, 65% are led by women, have female founders or CEOs (Devsynthesis, Gate2Brain, IMIDomics, Inbrain, INVD-BCN, MiMark, Omniscope, Seritech and ZIP Solutions), or women on the executive team in various positions of authority, such as CSO, CTO or CFO (ADBio, Aptadel, G&L Scientific, Labin, Nuage, oloBion and Rejuveron Senescence).
As for the international dimension, seven of the new companies to join the Park are subsidiaries of international groups: AdBio Partners (France), Devsynthesis (India), G&L Scientific (United States), Millhouse International (South Africa), NIVD-BCN (United Kingdom), Rejuveron Senescence (Switzerland) and Seritech Europe (Thailand).
Biotechnology for innovation in health
85% of the companies (21) focus on biotechnology applied to health.
14 are working on developing new therapies, drug delivery systems and innovative diagnostic tools. Seven of these focus on oncology: Aptadel (cancer treatments with aptamer-based technology); Gate2Brain (peptide shuttles to transport drugs across biological barriers like the blood-brain barrier, for paediatric oncology and other indications), MiMark (In Vitro Diagnostics-IVD for endometrial cancer and other gynecological disorders), Nuage Therapeutics (new drugs for intrinsically disordered targets to fight prostate cancer and other diseases), OneChain (new immuno-oncology therapies to treat neoplasms, mainly childhood leukaemia), Prous Institute for Biomedical Research (developing proprietary drug discovery software for cancer and neurodegenerative drugs, and investment in other innovative scientific projects), and Senescence Rejuversen (new drugs that eliminate senescent cells to treat cancer and age-related diseases).
Seven companies are working on other therapeutic indications: IMIDomics (drug discovery and development for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and Lupus), Hemostatics (searching for solutions to debilitating haemorrhages using an innovative antifibrinolytic agent), NIVD-BCN (Nanotechnology applied to In vitro Diagnostics for multiple various pathologies), Omniscope (innovative tool for universal early diagnosis that scans the immune system to detect many diseases), Seritech (technology with injectable micro-vectors and silk-protein polymers to administer drugs and active ingredients for cosmetics, biomedicine and cardiovascular surgery), Tyris (non-viral gene therapy based on DNA, focusing on developing treatments for rare diseases) and ZIP Solutions (developing technology to produce recombinant proteins and peptides for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, veterinary and industrial sectors).
In medtech, there is Inbrain, which develops and commercialises graphene neuroelectric interfaces and smart neuromodulation systems to treat neurological diseases.
Noteworthy R&D service companies include Devsynthesis (CRO specialising in multi-step synthesis of complex chemical molecules for drug discovery projects), Draconis (preclinical research and development services for new treatments in the fields of inflammation or immunology), oloBion (innovative laboratory that offers cutting-edge omics services) and Solitek (solid-state development services to bring innovative new solutions to the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and fine chemical markets).
In terms of Professional Services and Consulting, new incorporations include G&L Scientific, which specialises in regulatory affairs and quality control; and AdBio Partners, a venture capital firm that combines early-stage investment in promising new companies and strong business support to strengthen company growth.
R&D for more sustainable agriculture and agrifood
Finally, there are four companies working in the circular economy and more efficient, eco-friendly production methods: Fertinagro and Labin (R&D, production and commercialisation of plant-nutrition products for organic agriculture), Millhouse (manufacturing micronutrients and vitamin blends to enrich foods through agricultural innovation in Africa) and Real Deal Milk (latest-generation technology to produce milk and dairy products without animals).