Fighting Covid-19 from Catalonia's life sciences hub
27 May 2020
A world-class network of medical institutions, hospitals, research centres, healthcare multinationals and pharma companies have all made Barcelona and Catalonia a leading life sciences hub. Fighting Covid-19 has been a top priority from minute one.
Roche Diagnostics: "The school of work in health sciences in Catalonia is extraordinary"
Swiss multinational Roche Diagnostics shares in this interview how the company has dedicated its operations in Barcelona to bring their SARS-Cov-2 antibodies test to all the hospitals in the region. Jaume Vives, managing director, highlights the excellence of life science professionals in Catalonia, as well as their groundbreaking research in biomedicine.
Roche Diagnostics has installed its technological hub for the global market near Barcelona. Other top global companies that have established their production and innovation centres in Catalonia are Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Novartis, among others.
Europe's densest pharma environment
Catalonia is Europe’s densest pharma environment. It is home to +1,000 companies in the life sciences industry and, since 2008, capital investment in Catalonia’s life sciences companies has multiplied by 12.
Catalan healthcare company Grífols is one example of how Catalonia’s powerful pharma capacity has been very active in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.
With facilities in the US, Germany and Catalonia, as well as other locations around the world, Grífols has entered into a formal collaboration with the US Government and various health agencies in response to the Coronavirus and expects to produce the first treatment specifically targeting Covid-19.
Grífols is also taking part in a Microsoft-backed project in the US to accelerate the use of plasma for new Covid-19 therapies.
Leading research and innovation in times of Coronavirus
Catalonia received the highest number of R&D investment projects in 2019 in all Continental Europe, according to fDi Markets. The region has 89 leading scientific, technical & research centres working in the health, well-being and life sciences industries.
Eurecat and Leitat are top tech centres in Catalonia that have led pioneering projects to fight Covid-19. Leitat has developed ventilators using 3D printers that are being used at ICUs for Coronavirus patients, and Eurecat will predict Covid-19 outbreaks through the analysis of wastewater using Artificial Intelligence.
Other major scientific facilities in Catalonia include the Alba Synchrotron, the MareNostrum Supercomputer or the National Genome Analysis Centre. Internationally renowned hospitals which are performing groundbreaking work in different medical fields are the Hospital de la Vall d’Hebron, Hospital Clínic, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu or Hospital Quirón, among others.
Barcelona and Catalonia, a European lab in digital health
Catalonia is home to the biggest and most comprehensive database in Europe in medical imaging, making it the place to be for digital health. Having a completely digitalized public health system has been key in implementing telemedicine tools to help fight the pandemic.
ICT Health and Social Foundation is the government agency that promotes eHealth in Catalonia. Josuè Sallent, its managing director, shares in this interview how the early adoption of new technologies has turned Catalonia's public health system into a globally pioneering organisation.
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