The Catalan startup ecosystem breaks away from the global downward cycle and increases investments by 87%
While investments in Europe and the United States have registered significant decreases during 2022 in the amount of capital raised in the biotech and medtech sectors, the Catalan ecosystem continues to rise and has increased by 87% compared to the previous year, reaching a total of €445 million. The main round was carried out by the chain of dental clinics Impress (€122 M), followed by the biotech Minoryx Therapeutics (€51 M) and SpliceBio (€50 M), based in the Barcelona Science Park. These data are gathered in the Study on investment in the health sector in Catalonia 2022, promoted by CataloniaBio & HealthTech -headquartered at the Park- together with EY, presented this Thursday 27 April in the context of the Connection Day at the Barcelona Ocular Microsurgery Institute.
Companies in Catalonia have once again sought support from venture capital funds (VC), which have become the main source of financing, accounting for 77% of the capital raised. These are historical data that have specific names, with three main funding rounds. On the one hand, the medtech company Impress, the first megadeal in Catalonia with 122 M€; and the biotech companies Minoryx Therapeutics and SpliceBio, which have carried out the largest operations in their sector, with more than 50 M€ respectively.
“In both the US and Europe, investment in the biotech and medtech sector has registered a very significant decline during 2022. Contrary to this international trend, in Catalonia, investment in start-ups in the health sector has increased by 87% to reach the figure of €445M due to an investment of more than €200M in three companies. It remains to be seen how it evolves in 2023”, Silvia Ondategui, EY Life Sciences Global Partner.
By sub-sectors, the upward trend in medtech is confirmed, which has already seen its investment figures grow exponentially from €7 million in 2018 to €193 million today. On the other hand, biotech companies have recovered from the 2021 funding shortfall and have set a new record with an investment figure of €185 million. The digital health sector is the worst performer, having seen its capital reduced to €39m. This decline, however, is not represented in the number of operations, which have increased by almost 20% in 2022.
The other companies present in the ecosystem, such as service providers, have seen, thanks to the €22m round by the IT services company Seqera Labs, that the amount of capital raised has increased more than fivefold compared to 2021, with €28m raised in 2022.
Regarding the origin of the investments, the presence of local shareholders continues to be the majority, and almost 9 out of every 10 shares in each company are owned by a Catalan investor. This figure excludes large pharmaceutical companies, which do have more confidence in foreign investment, and alters the average for start-ups. However, there is a trend in international investment where, for example, Catalan digital health companies already have an average of 14% foreign investment.
“The year 2022 marks a clear trend towards success in terms of attracting and investing foreign capital. Companies have the challenge of maintaining this trend and demonstrating that international interest is not just the merit of a few companies in specific cases. And Catalan companies have also known how to open up to new markets, a fact that is also considered key by investors to give visibility to the health sector,” says Joan Puig, president of CataloniaBio & HealthTech.