2020 Biocat Report: Challenges ahead

In September 2020, Biocat, with CataloniaBio & HealthTech, presented the latest edition of the annual report on the BioRegion of Catalonia, titled “Challenges ahead”. This publication is the benchmark study that analyzes the life sciences and healthcare sector in Catalonia.

In just 9 months, the startups in the BioRegion managed to raise €120 million in investment, well above the previous record from 2019, which was €112 million. The main driving force for this growth was venture capital with international participation, which is up 67.1% to over €50 million for the first time.

Venture capital was the main source of investment in 2020, with €80.2 million (up 46.3% from 2019) in 25 operations (up 8.7%). Regarding investment with international participation, 1 in 4 rounds included foreign funds, mainly from Europe and the United States.

This international participation spurred on private venture capital investment, the stock market and crowdequity, with a total of €105.37 million, breaking the barrier of €100 million in a year for the first time. The most noteworthy operations were carried out by Ona Therapeutics (€30 million) and Oryzon (€20 million) in biotech, NEOS Surgery in medtech (€4 million) and Qida in digital health (€3.6 million).

Digital health, growing fast

Although the biotech and medtech sectors still saw more investment than others, the report noted the fast growth of digital health in recent years. The number of companies in this area doubled in 5 years, with a total of 180 in 2019, and investment went from €5.1 million in 2016 to €18.8 million in 2019.

Encouraging the public healthcare system to adopt new technology: rolling out strategies and instruments to boost public procurement of innovation and innovation in public procurement, as well as improving return of the benefits of innovation to the healthcare arena.Consolidating business: boosting the ability of consolidated companies to act as a driving force on a local level and encouraging alliances within the business fabric and with key players in the sector (technology centers, hospitals, regulatory bodies).

Àlex Casta Awards

The presentation of the Report came to a close with the final of the Àlex Casta Awards for the best pitch in the BioRegion. The candidates were ABLE Human Motion, Aortyx, Glycardial, Ona Therapeutics and Pebble Analytics. The Àlex Casta Awards are a joint initiative of the ecosystem in memory of Dr. Àlex Casta, a renowned professional in the Catalan life sciences and healthcare sector who died in December 2018.

Aortyx, a spinoff of IQS that specializes in creating endovascular devices for aortic dissections, won the first annual Àlex Casta Awards for the best pitch in the BioRegion. The winner got a prize worth €5,000: €2,500 in cash and €2,500 in consultancy hours, thanks to the support of Genesis Biomed; plus a commemorative trophy provided by UPF Ventures, a 1-year membership to the CataloniaBio & HealthTech association and visibility in the communication materials of the organizers.

Jordi Naval, CEO of Biocat, and Judit Anido, president of CataloniaBio & HealthTech, during the presentation of the BioRegion 2020 Report.

Dr. Enriqueta Felip, head of the Thoracic Tumor Unit at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, during the BioRegion Report presentation ceremony.

Montserrat Daban, Biocat Scientific Director and International Relations of Biocat, and Dr. Enriqueta Felip, head of the Thoracic Tumor Unit at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, during the presentation ceremony.

Delivery of the Àlex Casta Award to Aortyx. In the picture, Dr. Jordi Martorell, CEO and co-founder of Aortyx with the award.