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The "Study on investment in the Biomedical industry in Catalonia" was presented on 16 May at the Cercle d’Economia auditorium (Photo: CataloniaBio & HealthTech).

Catalan biomedical companies attracted €106 million in investment in 2018

Biomedical companies in Catalonia raised a joint total of €106 million in investment in 53 operations, up 1.9% from 2017, according to the Study on investment in the Biomedical industry in Catalonia, published annually by CataloniaBio & HealthTech association, based in the Barcelona Science Park, in collaboration with EY. Investments of more than €10 million made up 6% of all transactions.


CataloniaBio & HealthTech is the association of companies in the biomedicine and health arena in Catalonia. Its mission is to promote research, development and innovation (R&D&i) to help the business fabric generate new products and services in biopharmaceuticals, medical technology and digital health to improve people’s wellbeing.

While venture capital is still the main player, business angels are playing an increasingly significant role. In terms of geographic breakdown, 80% of all shareholders in Catalan biomedical companies are located in Catalonia, 13% are foreign and 7% from the rest of Spain. Investors consider the growth in number of international funds looking to invest in companies to be the greatest success of the Catalan ecosystem.

It is worth noting the pipeline of new drugs, technology and medical devices in Catalonia over the past year, which is progressively moving into the more advanced stages of the innovation process: specifically, 40% of R&D projects conducted by Catalan pharmaceutical companies are now in the final stages of the process, a figure that is 14% higher, quantitatively, than in 2017 and, qualitatively, shows that this industry is experiencing sustained growth and bringing new medical solutions to the market. In the case of medtech, half of all products are awaiting regulatory authorisation or are already on the market (27%).

Increase in alliances and value of licenses

In 2018, biomedical companies signed 355 collaboration projects with other organisations and research and technology centres in the ecosystem. These will give rise to future innovations that will help make the sector more competitive internationally, providing more transversal medical solutions (drug-technology-digital) for unmet medical needs or to improve on current solutions.

“We’ve observed sustainable, balanced, solid growth in the sector, with very promising science and business strategies and value proposals that help attract new investors,” explains Jaume Amat, president of CataloniaBioHT and CEO of Specipig.

For her part, Dr Silvia Ondategui-Parra, Partner Global EY Life Sciences, highlights that “the Catalan biomedical sector is showing signs of very dynamic growth, with solid investment numbers and increasing collaboration among the organisations that make up the ecosystem, which is key to tackling the challenges the sector is facing on a global level, among which the digitalisation of health plays a key role.”

Proof of this can be seen in the fact that 60% of Catalan pharmaceutical groups have shares in biotech companies (44% abroad, 34% in Catalonia and 22% in the rest of Spain). This corroborates that they are more and more committed to open innovation and are seeking out stable synergies with entrepreneurs.

With regard to licensing agreements, while the total figure dropped from 32 deals in 2017 to 17 in 2018, the value per contract rose significantly, with an expected future income of €28.8 million. Plus, 54% of Catalan medtech companies have begun marketing their products in a total of 52 new markets.

New specialised investment funds

Catalonia currently has 8 investment funds that specialise in health and biomedicine. The Catalan companies in the sector carried out a total of 50 investment operations in 2018, with €9 million in committed capital and €29 million in capital paid out. These figures are lower than those for the previous year because, in 2018, the firms mainly focused on creating new funds.

By type, 62% of all operations carried out by Catalan investors in the sector involved drug discovery companies, followed by medtech firms (28%) and those specialising in digital health (10%).

Among the benchmark groups, Inveready launched its Biotech III fund with €25 million and Ysios Capital (which recently received the CataloniaBioHT Biosuccess Award for its investment capacity with a total of €191 million since 2008) is working to put together its third fund. In 2018, the Asabys Partners fund was launched with €70 million, and in early 2019 Invivo Partners was set up with another fund endowed with €40 million.

► More information: CataloniaBio & HealthTech website [+]