The BIOCAT Forum highlights the growing potential of the biotechnology sector in Catalonia
Thanks to its first class basic research, the pharmaceutical, fine chemistry and biotechnology industries, and the increasing number of start-up firms the biotechnology sector in Catalonia is showing a great potential for growth.
50% of Spain’s pharmaceutical laboratories, 60% of their production and 66% of Spanish fine chemistry firms are based in Catalonia. Furthermore, Catalonia is one of the main European Union regions in terms of developing R+D activity. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that R+D spending and number of personnel have doubled in recent years and are now above the Spanish average.
Given that all those aspects of competition necessary to consolidate this sector are available within Catalonia the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Autonomous Government), via its Centre for Innovation and Business Development (CIDEM), part of the Department of Employment, Industry, Trade and Tourism, has designed a specific programme for the Catalan biotechnology sector.
The programme was presented through the BIOCAT Forum on 28-29 May in the Parc Científic de Barcelona (PCB, Barcelona Science Park). This is the first such forum held in Catalonia and its main aim is to promote biotechnology projects among Catalan firms in the pharmaceutical, veterinary and agrofood sectors. The programme forms part of the activities carried out by the Generalitat de Catalunya under the Innovation Plan for Catalonia 2001-04, whose main objective is to raise awareness among companies and Catalan society regarding the importance of innovation for competitive business.
The PCB took part in the BIOCAT Forum by presenting some of the twenty companies established within the Park, including Advancell, Almirall Prodesfarma, Merck KgaA, Oryzon Genomics, Era Plantech and CrystaX, some of which are located in the CIDEM-PCB Bioincubator.
The Forum is the starting point for a number of activities designed by CIDEM and aimed at promoting the biotechnology sector over the coming years. In addition, Catalonia has already begun work on organizing the BIOSPAIN Forum 2004, which will be held as part of the Universal Forum of Cultures – Barcelona 2004.