With 734 companies and 89 research organizations in the field of life sciences, Catalonia has more pharmaceutical companies per capita than any other European country, with the exception of Belgium. At the same time, it ranks fourth in biotechnological companies per capita (after Sweden, Switzerland and Israel) and holds fourth place in the ranking of medtech companies per capita (after Israel, Sweden and Switzerland). The life science industry turnover accounts for 7% of GDP in Catalonia and it employs 42,100 people, 34% of them in pharmaceutical companies, according to 2015 Biocat report.
This outstanding performance hasn’t come about by chance. It is the result of a long-term strategy focused on different fields, which have positioned Catalonia as one of Europe’s most dynamic regions.
Above all, there is a firm commitment in Catalonia to innovation and creativity, combined with a solid industry, diversified economy, an openness to the world, a high level of talent attraction and privileged logistics infrastructures. Furthermore, Catalonia boasts a long-standing tradition in the fields of investigation, research, medicine and pharmacy.
Although Catalonia represents only 1.5% of the EU population, Catalan researchers produce 3.15% of all scientific production in Europe and 1% of the world. It is home to leading international experts such as Joan Massagué and Manel Estaller and local companies such as Grifols, Almirall, Esteve, Lacer, Bioiberica, Reig Jofre and Uriach, whilst multinationals such as Novartis, Roche, Sanofi, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim or B. Braun have headquarters here.
The investment attraction capacity in this field is highly dynamic. Over the last five years, Catalonia has attracted 43 foreign investment projectsfrom life sciences sector companies, creating 2,350 jobs and representing an investment of 750 million euros. These have mainly come from companies from Germany, USA, France, Switzerland and India. With 50% of the life science projects, the pharmaceutical sector is showing the highest level of investment in this industry in Catalonia.
Catalonia Trade & Investment has assisted many of these companies in their new investment projects. Not only in the decision-making process, but also by providing a pro-business approach and tailor-made solutions.
This enviable situation has generated synergies between industry and research, greater intensity in technology transfer, which facilitates talent attraction, and creates a hub with high added value from a production, academic and research point of view.
In addition, it has attracted some of the leading industry congresses and trade shows to Catalonia. Last year, Barcelona hosted CPhI Worldwide, the world's top European pharmaceutical exhibition, which brought together more than 36,000 pharma industry professionals from 150 countries. In March, the BIO-Europe Spring (BES), the premier springtime partnering conference which takes place in Europe every year, will attract international biotech, pharma and financial professionals over three days.
Just a few days later, from April 3 to 5, engineers from the Pharma and Biotech Industry will have their yearly big get together at the ISPE 2017Europe Annual Conference. This year, the Conference will focus on “Pharma Manufacturing 2025” and the way to achieve a modern, agile, and flexible production landscape.
Furthermore, Barcelona will be their best scenario to take a closer look at how industry trends will impact the pharmaceutical industry. Prominent questions will be explored and discussed during the conference: What will the main regulatory trends be by 2025? How will the current technology platforms evolve? What will the required skillsets and capabilities of the future workforce be? What does the facility of the future look like and how will operations be managed? And what will be the ideal implementation of Industry 4.0 in pharmaceutical factories?
In the words of Thomas Zimmer, VP of European Operations for ISPE, “Barcelona is a hotspot for the pharmaceutical industry and a perfect site for the Europe Conference. Situated on the Mediterranean, it offers attractions far beyond manufacturing.”