BIOSPAIN 2023 brings together the global biotechnology industry in Barcelona
The inauguration ceremony featured the President of AseBio, Ana Polanco; the Secretary of State for Trade, Xiana Margarida Méndez; the Minister of Business and Labor of the Government of Catalonia, Roger Torrent i Ramió; and the Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs, Finance, Economic Promotion, and Tourism of the Barcelona City Council, Jordi Valls.
The International Biotechnology Meeting BIOSPAIN 2023, taking place from September 26 to 28 at the Fira de Barcelona - Montjuïc, organized by AseBio in collaboration with Biocat, the Barcelona City Council, and the Government of Catalonia, aims to position the biotechnology sector as a driver of the new healthcare model and a key element in achieving the strategic autonomy of Spain and Europe in areas such as the economy, health, sustainable food, and the green industrial transition.
The congress was inaugurated on Tuesday by the President of AseBio, Ana Polanco; the Secretary of State for Trade, Xiana Margarida Méndez; the Minister of Business and Labor of the Government of Catalonia, Roger Torrent i Ramió; and the Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs, Finance, Economic Promotion, and Tourism of the Barcelona City Council, Jordi Valls.
As Méndez commented, this meeting is the "major international projection platform" for Spanish biotechnology. In fact, Torrent i Ramió emphasized that "congresses like this are highly strategic for boosting the development of the biotechnology sector in Catalonia and consolidating it as one of the main centers in Europe." Valls, who recalled that "Barcelona is one of the most prolific cities for start-ups in the sector, with a mature, established, and clearly international reference ecosystem."
"We are celebrating this edition of BIOSPAIN with the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union as a backdrop, a Presidency that is addressing the pillars on which to base the strategic autonomy of the European Union. I am convinced that the commitment to strategic industries such as biotechnology cannot be a matter of debate in building a more resilient future. Therefore, these strategic industries such as biotechnology must be an intrinsic part of any country and regional strategy to promote its prosperity and development," said the President of AseBio.
Throughout the three days of the event, which marks its 20th year as an international reference for Spanish biotechnology, over 2,000 sector professionals representing 975 entities from 30 countries will analyze topics related to personalized medicine, advanced diagnostics, advanced therapies, the capabilities of the Spanish bioindustry in the discovery of new drugs, or the role of biotechnology in the energy transition, among many other subjects. Scientific production in biotechnology represents 1% of the total scientific production
"The BIOSPAIN program provides a comprehensive picture of the challenges and opportunities that set the pace for the 'biotech' industry. BIOSPAIN brings together major companies in the sector, the most entrepreneurial startups, authorities, regulatory agencies, and leading investors. It ensures all the ingredients that are attractive to a company: collaboration with other companies, investment opportunities, and discussions of interest on the major global challenges facing the biotechnology sector," said the Director General of AseBio, Ion Arocena.
In Spain, the sector enjoys a strong position, as scientific production in biotechnology represents 1% of the total scientific production and 2.6% of the global production in this area. Additionally, Spanish biotechnology is cited 20% more than the global average. These data place Spain as the ninth power in terms of scientific production in biotechnology. In 2021 alone, the impact on the GDP of biotechnology companies amounted to €11.183 billion, representing 1% of the GDP.
Regarding Barcelona and Catalonia, the city and the region have established themselves as one of the most competitive, dynamic, and vibrant hubs of innovation in health in all of Europe. The territory ranks first in exports of life sciences and health products in Spain, with an industry that exports more than 53% of products from the country, a business fabric that exceeds 1,350 companies, and employs 247,000 people (7% of Catalonia's employed population).
This explains why BIOSPAIN 2023 is taking place in Barcelona, in addition to the fact that the region leads international rankings in the number of startups, scientific publications, or clinical trials, among others, and boasts recognized research centers and hospitals. Together with entrepreneurial and business talent, this configures a highly competitive ecosystem both nationally and internationally. It also accounts for 45% of the total turnover of the sector in Spain.
"The celebration of BIOSPAIN in Barcelona was eagerly awaited by the sector, promising to break records in terms of participation, promoters, and international visibility given the city's and the BioRegion's excellent positioning in Europe. And it has done just that. That's why we are convinced that this year's edition will be especially beneficial in terms of business opportunities, investments, and networking for all participating professionals," emphasized the Director General of Biocat, Robert Fabregat.
The Role of Biotechnology in Healthcare
Specifically, in the various sessions that make up the BIOSPAIN 2023 program, the role of biotechnology as the basis for new approaches to healthcare will be analyzed. For example, the case of advanced therapies and their role as a driving force in terms of Drug Discovery will be discussed, as biotechnology has radically transformed the discovery of new drugs. In the field of health, some of the current major challenges include antibiotic resistance.
"Congresses like BIOSPAIN serve as the bridge between scientific advancements and professional talent. Thanks to these platforms, new opportunities for collaboration among professionals arise, promoting knowledge, innovation, and growth in the field of biotechnology to tackle future challenges," stated Elia Torroella, Executive Vice President and Director of R&D and Records at HIPRA.
Contribution to the Sustainability of the Planet
Multiple sessions will also focus on how biotechnology positions itself as a major ally in the sustainability of the planet, as the sector is a prominent player in the development of new food and energy sources in the face of challenges such as global population growth, climate change, and raw material scarcity.
"Climate change is exerting significant pressure on the food production system, exacerbated by disruptions in supply chains due to the COVID-19 pandemic and sociopolitical instability, including the war in Ukraine, all of which further threaten the production and global supply of safe, healthy, and affordable food. While short-term solutions are urgently needed, fundamental changes in the medium and long term will be required to ensure that the food system can withstand current and future pressures and feed a growing global population while reducing the impact of agriculture on the planet. This involves innovation in agriculture and the food industry, in which biotechnology plays a significant role", commented Richard Borreani, Head of Public Affairs and Sustainability at Bayer Crop Science.
In his view, by accelerating the discovery, development, and delivery of improved crops and enhancing industrial processes, biotechnology has "enormous potential" to address the "increasingly large and complex" challenges faced by farmers, consumers, and the planet. "Therefore, at a general level, biotechnology plays a vital role in contributing to various global sustainability goals (SDGs)," he argued.
'AseBio Journalism Awards'
In this edition of BIOSPAIN, the 'AseBio Journalism Awards' have been reinstated, in which journalists, both national and international, from any media outlet or freelancers who have produced a piece on one of the program's themes, such as agri-food, industrial transformation, health, or financing, among others, can participate.
Candidates and media outlets wishing to participate can consult the competition rules here and submit their works to the email firstname.lastname@example.org. The names of the winners will be announced through the association's communication channels, and the awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held in November.