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Photo: Biocat CEO Jordi Naval and Judit Anidó, CEO of CataloniaBio & HealthTech (Foto: CataloniaBio & HealthTech).

Investment in health startups in Catalonia doubles in just two years, to over €200 million in 2020

In a year made difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and life sciences sector in Catalonia reached an exceptional milestone. In 2020, startups in the BioRegion managed to raise €226 million in investment, the most ever, doubling in just two years from €112 million in 2018.  This data is from the final version of the “Investment in startups” chapter of the BioRegion of Catalonia Life Sciences and Healthcare Outlook 2020 – Challenges Ahead, presented this morning by Biocat and CataloniaBio & HealthTech, with their headquarters in the Barcelona Science Park. The largest operation was closed by Ona Therapeutics, based in the Park, raising €30M.

After being updated to give a more complete view than the version presented in September 2020, the report shows tha venture capital was the main source of investment, with a total of €140 million. There were 41 operations in total, up 58% from 2019.

Although the biggest operations are mostly in biotech and medtech, digital health companies grew the fastest, with investment multiplying by a factor of 2.6 since 2018.

As Biocat CEO Jordi Naval highlighted, these indicators show that “the figures reinforce our belief in the potential for scaling up the ecosystem to the level seen in other European countries. There is no reason we can’t be ambitious and think that we’ll see similar investment figures and aspire to attract series A.”

In addition to the updated funding and investment figures, the report also features macroeconomic and innovation indicators for the healthcare and life sciences sector in Catalonia and discusses the challenges and vision for the BioRegion of Catalonia over the coming years. In fact, the life sciences and healthcare sector employs 230,000 people and accounts for 7.3% of the Catalan GDP.

Exponential growth in international investment

International investors were present in 4 out of 10 rounds of funding, or 62.2% of all venture capital raised. The number of international investors also increased five-fold, from 14 in 2015 to 73 in 2020. Most of them are from Europe (42) and the United States (22).

In this regard, Judit Anido, CEO of CataloniaBio & HealthTech, points out that “the steady growth in international investment confirms the quality of pipelines, business models and teams at Catalan startups, as well as the fact that they are competitive on the global market.”

Last year, seven companies raised over €10 million in investment. Biotechnology companies are at the top of the list, with a record investment of €142.6 million, fuelled by three large operations that made up nearly half the total raised: Ona Therapeutics (€30 million), Minoryx Therapeutics (€25 million) and Oryzon (€20 million).

» More information on Biocat [+] and CataloniaBio & HealthTech [+] websites