In 2020, startups in the health and life sciences in Catalonia raised €226 million in investment, the highest figure ever, doubling in just two years from €112 million in 2018. This data is from the BioRegion of Catalonia Life Sciences and Healthcare Outlook 2020 - Challenges Ahead report, presented by Biocat and CataloniaBio & HealthTech.
The main source of this funding was venture capital, with a total of €140 million. There were 41 operations in total, up 58% from 2019. Although the biggest operations are mostly in biotech and medtech, digital health companies grew the fastest, with investment multiplying by a factor of 2.6 since 2018.
Biocat CEO Jordi Naval said “the figures reinforce our belief in the potential for scaling up the ecosystem to the level seen in other European countries. There is no reason we can’t be ambitious and think that we’ll see similar investment figures and aspire to attract series A.” In fact, the life sciences and healthcare sector employ 230,000 people and account for 7.3% of the Catalan GDP.
Exponential growth in international investment
International investors were present in 4 out of 10 rounds of funding, or 62.2% of all venture capital raised. The number of international investors also increased five-fold, from 14 in 2015 to 73 in 2020. Most of them are from Europe (42) and the United States (22).
In this regard, Judit Anido, CEO of CataloniaBio & HealthTech, pointed out that “the steady growth in international investment confirms the quality of pipelines, business models and teams at Catalan startups, as well as the fact that they are competitive on the global market.”
Last year, seven companies raised over €10 million in investment. Biotechnology companies are at the top of the list, with a record investment of €142.6 million, fueled by three large operations that made up nearly half the total raised: Ona Therapeutics (€30 million), Minoryx Therapeutics (€25 million) and Oryzon (€20 million).