Investment in companies in the field of life sciences and healthcare in Catalonia grew to €112M in 2019
Life sciences and healthcare start-ups and companies in Catalonia managed to attract €112M of investment in 2019, a figure that has remained stable for four years in a row and is 3% higher than in 2018, according to the study presented today by CataloniaBio & HealthTech and Biocat –based in the Barcelona Science Park– jointly with and EY. Investors and experts predict that in 2020 this will reach a record figure, boosted by an interest in the sector after Covid-19.
Life sciences and healthcare start-ups and companies in Catalonia managed to attract €112M of investment in 2019, a figure that has remained stable for four years in a row and is 3% higher than in 2018. This data is taken from the Study on investment in the Life Sciences and Healthcare industry in Catalonia 2020, presented today by CataloniaBio & HealthTech, Biocat and EY.
Both investors and experts believe this investment to be a prelude to a very promising 2020 for the sector since life sciences and healthcare start-ups in Catalonia have almost met the capital raised in all the rounds of 2019 within the first half of 2020: from €63.64M last year to €55.6M over the last six months.
In 2019 venture capital was still the main source of financing (49%), followed by grants, the stock exchange and crowdfunding. 63% of the capital received was from the 10 largest investments, headed up by Oryzon and Anaconda Biomed. The average amount per round of the remaining operations was €2M, with a total of 116 operations.
“The most important points of the study show the strength of the life sciences and healthcare ecosystem in Catalonia, with investment that has remained above €100M over the last 4 years” said Judit Anido, president of CataloniaBio & HealthTech and CEO of Mosaic Biomedicals.
Jordi Naval, CEO of Biocat, added that “Catalonia is positioning itself as one of the most important European hubs for life sciences and healthcare.” However, Naval and Anido highlighted three clear challenges in consolidating this trend: “Continuing to develop attractive R&D activities and science for investors, showing the returns on these investments through quantitative indicators and reducing the fiscal barriers to allow investment to increase.”
Growth expectations for MedTech and digital health
Investment raised each year by Catalan companies is funnelled into R&D and marketing new solutions to improve people’s health. At the end of 2019, biopharmaceuticals had a total of 39 products in clinical trials. What also stands out are the growth expectations for MedTech and digital health firms, since over 90% are expected to have new products in the next 3 years (an average of 2 products per firm).
In 2019, the companies in the sector increased their R&D activity, setting up 400 collaborations (13% higher than 2018) with other key stakeholders in the ecosystem, creating a solid and positive network. Companies (33%) and hospitals (29%) were the main partners, followed by universities and technology transfer organisations (19%) and research centres (19%).
Trends brought about by Covid-19
Starting in March 2020, Covid-19 has affected operations in the life sciences and healthcare industry in Catalonia: delays in R&D schedules, cancelled projects and changes in priorities in order to focus all efforts towards medical needs generated by SARS-CoV-2. However, the sector has proved to be flexible and able to tackle a healthcare crisis with swift innovation. According to the results of surveys conducted for the study, the business fabric feels that the Covid-19 crisis has bolstered the position of the life sciences and healthcare sector as one of the Catalonia’s main economic motors and has driven forward development in key areas such as digital health.
While it is not easy to predict the future, “the global market and investment predictions for 2020 indicate that the life sciences and healthcare industry will continue to grow and will be more attractive and promising than ever,” said Dr Silvia Ondategui, Global Life Sciences Partner at EY.
Companies’ R&D has been affected, which has moved towards developing products in the field of infectious diseases (vaccines, drugs, new tools for diagnosis, digital solutions, etc.), and investors’ interests are expected to head in the same direction.
As such, one of the challenges the sector will face in 2020 and 2021 is responding to market demands generated by Covid-19 without losing sight of other crucial therapeutic areas such as oncology, mental health, heart disease and central nervous system disorders, where Catalonia stands out on the international stage for its excellence in science.
►Study on investment in the Life Sciences and Healthcare industry in Catalonia 2020 [pdf]