Investments in health-related startups in the BioRegion continue to rise steadily and have once again surpassed the 200 million barrier for the second year in a row, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, €238 million in investments have been raised, which is the highest figure on record to date.
As reported in the 2021 BioRegion Report, the record funding figures go hand in hand since 2012 with patent indicators, one of the leading key indicators for assessing a region’s innovation capacity. This chapter, as shown in the chapter report to which PONS IP contributed, shows Catalonia as one of the main drivers of health-related innovation in Spain. Thus, the data analyzed by the PONS IP team together with BIOCAT show how up to 35% of the health-related patent families in force or being processed in the last 10 years came from companies based in Catalonia. In total, 776 patents were registered from the Autonomous Community compared to 543 from the Community of Madrid, in second place, or 167 from the Community of Valencia, in third place in the report.
These are some of the data included in the 2021 BioRegion of Catalonia Report, promoted by Biocat, CataloniaBio & HealthTech and ACCIÓ, on which PONS IP has been collaborating since 2020, along with other contributors such as Alira Health and EY, in a face-to-face meeting with the President of the Government of Catalonia and more than 150 professionals from the sector.
As Isabel Marco Martínez, PhD, from the Biotechnology, Pharmacy and Chemistry Area in the Patent Department at PONS IP and a contributor to the study, says, ‘this year we wanted to go a step further to get a closer look at the reality of technology transfer in the region. That is why we have selected those patents granted, in force or being processed in Europe, as well as in the United States or before the WIPO, at least as the subject of the analysis. This double condition means that the patent documents identified, almost 800, correspond to developments in the sector with a high level of quality, which increases their marketing potential’. According to Marco, ‘the use of Patent Intelligence for measuring innovation is well known due to the very nature of this protection method, since patents are unique sources of competitive information in all technological areas and concentrate a large volume of information, with around 50 million patent documents published worldwide, with 1.5 million more being added year after year, also providing exclusive information, given that 75% of the information disclosed through patent documents is not collected in any other technical publication’.
Another key indicator of the overall status of innovation in a given geographical area is collaboration. Thus, in the chapter dedicated to consulting CataloniaBio & HealthTech partners, the high level of R&D collaborations between the startup network and research entities in the BioRegion is confirmed. Some 90% of biotech or techmed startups report working in collaboration with research entities, universities or hospitals, a fact that highlights the transfer capacity within the ecosystem. In terms of R&D investment intensity, the main destination of biotech and techmed startups is Catalonia (52% and 78%, respectively).
Finally, the 2021 Report also reviews other macroeconomic and innovation indicators related to the life sciences and health sector, such as turnover and employment rates of companies, which have increased despite the pandemic, and have had a positive impact in the sector’s GDP growth, which already represents 8.7% of Catalonia’s GDP (1.4% more than in 2018). The sector brings together more than 1,300 companies that export more than 50% of Spain’s life sciences and health products, employing 244,000 people (more than 8% of Catalonia’s employed population) and strengthening its position as one of the most attractive hubs in Europe through the steady landing of international innovation centers.
Enlaces de interés: Report BIOCAT 2021