Investment in R&D by biotech companies grows by 17% to 1,218 million euros

Private funding raised by the sector reached an all-time high, surpassing 228 million euros after a 37% increase.

Presentación del Informe AseBio 2023
Industrial biotechnology

AseBio presented the AseBio Report 2023 "25 Years of Biotechnology" on Wednesday, June 12, at the Rafael del Pino Foundation in Madrid. The report was supported by Amadix, MSD, and Oryzon Genomics as main collaborators. This edition is special for the association as we celebrate our 25th anniversary, and in addition to offering the most recent indicators of the sector, we have compared them with those from a quarter of a century ago, or at least the first time we were able to compile these indicators. Thus, the AseBio Report 2023 reflects the radical transformation our sector has undergone in these 25 years.

"Our AseBio community was born 25 years ago to connect and help those of us who believe that biotechnology can change the world and transform the country. On this special anniversary, we look back and see a long list of high-impact scientific and biotechnological advances in our lives, all of which are documented in the reports AseBio has published annually since the year 2000. Our AseBio community has grown over this time along with the sector, and many of our ideas are now successful companies," began the presentation by AseBio president and CEO of Amadix, Rocío Arroyo.

In 2022, the activity of biotech companies in Spain generated more than 16.6 billion euros in revenue, representing 1.5% of the national GDP. Tax revenue amounted to 6.483 billion euros, a figure that represents 0.6% of GDP. It is worth noting that the turnover of biotech companies increased by 9.4% in 2022 compared to the previous year, reaching 19.676 billion euros.

Biotech companies contribute 162,845 jobs, which is 0.85% of total employment. The average productivity exceeded half a million euros per employee, more than four times the average productivity of the economy, with average wages that are double the national average.

Historic High in Private Funding Captured by the Sector

After a decline in private funding for the sector in 2022, 2023 saw a 37% increase, reaching a historic high of over 228 million euros across 42 deals, with an average deal size of 5.4 million euros. Notably, the largest investments involved international investors.

The amount of investment raised through capital increases with international investor participation is close to 150 million euros. In 2023, 10 companies received support from investors from countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Italy.

Biotech companies secured more than 12 million euros through crowdfunding and financial instruments in the form of loans or equity investments from regional entities and ENISA, as well as risk debt from the EIC Fund, which continue to be essential as complementary financing.

The Biotechnological Sector's Investment in R&D Exceeds 6.3% of Total National R&D Investment

In 2022, the biotechnological sector invested 1,218 million euros in R&D, representing more than 6.3% of the total national R&D investment. Of the R&D investment by biotech companies, 67% is financed with own funds, and 44% of the investment is allocated to compensating research and technical personnel. This is followed by funds from the business sector, at 13%, and 10% from both public administration and other countries.

The biotechnological sector maintains the fifth position in terms of R&D investment intensity, behind other sectors such as R&D services, automotive, pharmaceutical, and education.

"For Oryzon, the AseBio Report is a key reference of great corporate value. We are a pioneering company in Epigenetics that in 2024 has made R&D investments amounting to 15 million euros, of which 14.3 million euros correspond to development and 0.7 million euros to research," says Carlos Buesa, CEO of Oryzon Genomics.

A Science-Intensive Sector with High Researcher Employment

Once again, biotech companies maintain the second position in the ranking of sectors with the highest percentage of researchers relative to total employees, at 13.77%, only behind R&D service companies.

"Biotechnology promises a bright future. Therefore, at MSD, we continue the path of innovation and development in search of solutions that allow us to achieve our purpose of saving and improving lives, a goal that is inextricably linked to working for a healthy planet," states Cristina Nadal, Executive Director of Policy at MSD in Spain. "Innovation, biotechnology, the One Health approach, and public-private and interdisciplinary collaboration are essential tools to comprehensively address and provide solutions to the current and future challenges we face as a society."

The report highlights that in 2022, Spanish scientific production in the field of biotechnology represented 2.46% of global production, which is 21% higher than the global average. These figures place Spain in the ninth position worldwide in the number of biotechnology documents.

"Talking today about liquid biopsy in the field of oncology would not have been possible without a continuous commitment to science and innovation in the past, which bears fruit today, in our present. We must continue celebrating events like this and writing the history of biotechnology together to keep generating scientific milestones that will provide answers to future health challenges," declares Lourdes Planelles, Chief Scientific Officer of Amadix.

More and more students are seeking their professional future in biotechnology. Since the 2015-2016 academic year, the number of students enrolled in undergraduate or master's biotechnology programs has increased by 25%. In 2022-2023, the latest period for which data is available, there were over 9,300 students in master's and undergraduate programs, of which more than 60% are women.

For the past seven years, women's participation in the sector has been above 50%, and since 2020, the representation percentage has remained at 53%. Sixty percent of the staff dedicated to R&D activities in biotech companies are women, and they represent 29.2% of the management teams of biotechnological companies.

Number of Biotechnological Companies in Spain Increases by 8.5%

The number of biotechnological companies in Spain continues to grow year after year. Two decades ago, the sector had around 50 companies strictly considered biotech. Today, that number has risen to 974, following an 8.5% growth in 2022. The current picture of the biotechnological business network in Spain shows that 47% are SMEs and 49% are micro-enterprises.

By number of companies, Catalonia maintains its leadership with the highest number of biotechnological companies: 24.85% of the total. Following are the Community of Madrid (17.25%), Andalusia (12.94%), the Basque Country (9.45%), and the Valencian Community (8.62%).

Fifty-two percent of biotech companies focus their activity on human health, followed by food at 32%, and agriculture and forestry production at 19%. Companies focusing on the environment, animal health, and aquaculture each represent 13%. Lastly, 10% are dedicated to industrial biotechnology.

Finally, biotech companies formed 332 alliances in 2022, of which 224 were with public entities and foundations, representing a 13% increase.

The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Universities, Juan Cruz Cigudosa, emphasized that "the unprecedented commitment of the Government of Spain to science with the largest R&D&I budget in the history of our country," and highlighted that "the biotechnology industry has played a leading role, capturing one out of every three euros invested by CDTI through INNVIERTE over the last four years, which amounts to nearly 100 million euros."