COVID-19 impulse the creation of ‘R&D roadmap’ for 69% of biotechnological companies in Spain

  • 76% of Spanish biotech companies says pandemic have accelerated the innovation in its market 
  • Access to Talent is one of the drivers that could increase R&D budgets for biotechnology companies in the future
Cristina Cortés

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the creation of ‘R&D roadmap’ for 69% of Biotechnology and Health companies in Spain, according the 3rd International Innovation Barometer by Ayming, an international leading consulting firm in Managing and Funding of R&D activities. The IIB is a global, C-suite report, based on the views and perspective of over than 600 professionals, including Senior R&D Managers, CFOs, CEOs and owners of companies from 14 countries. The main goal of this report is to show the current and upcoming Innovation’s framework, risks, and opportunities, both in Spain and International. 

Ayming has made an analysis by sectors, in order to a extract a concrete definition about the COVID-19 pandemic impact in the innovation plans of the companies. As a main conclusion, Biotechnology and Health sectors in Spain have reinforced its existing innovation plans, which are already part of their businesses.

Pandemic affect Biotechnology companies, but also accelerate Innovation

Almost of 76% of Spanish companies in this field say that COVID-19 has accelerated innovation in their sector, which is almost 20 points higher than the 55% of companies interviewed from other sectors. Innovation which almost 56% of the companies carried out through their own financing. 

54.3% of the companies in the sector affirmed that they have been affected by COVID-19 in Spain -12 points above the global average of 41.7 -, but the pandemic itself has also entailed the acceleration of three-year-investment plans, which will be increased in 68.5% of the biotechnology companies in Spain. This is a figure that also contrasts with the overall figures for companies of the same type, as despite claiming to have been less affected, 63% of the companies will increase their budgets, 5.5 points below the national numbers.

In words of Cristina Cortés, Innovation Performance Manager at Ayming, biotechnological sector expert: “COVID-19 has shown more than ever how important is a structured R&D plan for companies in this sector, which have found that the entire society was looking to them for a quick and safe solution to this health crisis. This has meant that many businesses had to commit resources during the pandemic, and also to design plans in line with an ever-changing environment. This was reported by more than 34% of companies, confirming that long-term trends and future market demand are its main drivers in designing its strategies”. 

The historical record-time of worldwide vaccine development has meant that 72% of companies, according to biotech sector in Spain, are ‘more open to experimentation’ (74% globally in this area), a percentage that Cristina Cortés, Innovation Manager at Ayming explains, "It is not a surprise, given the nature of the sector itself and the speed with constantly works in short and medium term. Nowadays, to contain the advance of the still ongoing pandemic, but also with other health challenges".

Pandemic enhances biotech R&D talent 

Others main conclusions drawn by the IIB 2022 is the importance of Talent for companies in this field, which could even condition the budget increase allocation in three-years-time for 44% of Spanish companies, and 48.7% globally.  As Cristina Cortés, Innovation Manager of Ayming refers to: “Talent has always been a high-priority driver for companies in the Biotechnology and Healthcare sectors. Indeed, the availability of talent is one of the major conditioning factors (36%) for this type of company when it comes to selecting a location in which to develop R&D activities, so it is not surprising that, after the efforts made by the internal teams, they have come out even stronger after the pandemic”. 

COVID-19 pandemic has been a turning point that has led 49% of these companies in Spain to state that their Innovation team has become more important, a figure that also represents a high percentage at a global level, standing at 61.3%. This trend also supports the conclusion that, in the opinion of 49% of Spanish Biotechnology and Healthcare companies (73% globally), the healthcare crisis has also shown that innovation depends on human interaction.