Health & Life Sciences
in Catalonia

A world-class network of medical institutions, hospitals, research centres, biotech startups and pharma companies has turned Barcelona and Catalonia into a leading life sciences hub.

Find your supplier in Health & Life Sciences

Barcelona-Catalonia, a hotbed for innovative life science businesses.

Top global companies that have installed their production centers and R&D departments in Catalonia and already trust the excellent pool of local providers are Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Novartis, and Roche, to mention just a few.

The health, well-being, and life sciences industries include various sectors like pharma, medical technologies, biotechnologies, cosmetics, veterinary, and nutraceuticals; diverse agents like hospitals, insurance companies, universities, and clinics.

Global leaders in pharma and life sciences

Catalonia is Europe’s densest pharma environment. It is the birthplace of the five biggest Spanish pharmaceutical companies (Almirall, Esteve, Ferrer, Grífols, and Uriach) and home to 1,300+ companies in the life sciences industry (2021). Compared to 2020, the number of companies has increased by 8%. With 1,242 active clinical trials, Catalonia ranks second in the world by the number of trials per million inhabitants (BioRegion Report 2021).

Catalonia also concentrates half of the industrial pharma companies in Spain: a total of 79 industrial plants are located in the region and have 15,806 employees.

Exports represent €7.78B in life sciences and healthcare products (2021), with Catalonia being Spain's number 1 exporter region in this sector. Furthermore, since 2008, capital investment in Catalonia’s life sciences companies has multiplied by 12, and life sciences startups are the 2nd most numerous within the Catalan startup ecosystem.

A hotspot of research and innovation activity

Catalonia has 91 leading scientific, technical, and research centers in the health, well-being, and life sciences industries. Major scientific facilities include the Alba Synchrotron, the MareNostrum Supercomputer, and the National Genome Analysis Center. In addition, Barcelona is the 2nd-ranked destination in the world regarding research centers (KPMG, Global Cities Investment Monitor 2021).

Internationally renowned hospitals performing groundbreaking work in different medical fields are, among others, the Hospital de la Vall d’Hebron, Hospital Clínic, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, and Hospital Quirón.

“The school of work in health sciences in Catalonia is extraordinary”

Jaume Vives, Managing Director Roche Diagnostics

  • 1,300+ companies

  • €21.33B in turnover

  • 57,718 employees

Catalonia, a leader in clinical trials in Europe and the world

Catalonia ranks among the top 10 in the world in the number of participations in clinical trials. Looking only at oncology, this position rises to the European Top 5 and remains in the World Top 10, as it does for other leading specializations.

Since 2001, the number of clinical trials carried out in Catalonia has continued to increase, and in the past ten years, the figure has doubled. As a result, Catalonia is currently participating in over 1,200 active clinical trials to test new therapies and drugs in patients.

At a European level, Catalonia ranks 6th in the number of participations in trials and 8th worldwide, only behind countries like the United States (9,532), Canada (1,905), France (1,896), United Kingdom (1,633), Spain (1,595), Germany (1,583) and Italy (1,460). Moreover, Catalan centers participate in 75% of all active trials in Spain.

Investment opportunities in digital health

Catalonia has a fast-paced, expanding medical devices sector and a robust digital health technology ecosystem. In addition, the large and innovative pool of companies and the early adopter Catalan society make our region the perfect place for developing digital health solutions.

In the last decade, the number of companies in Catalonia in digital health has multiplied by 10. Today, more than 200 companies work in the sector. Some have set up digital hubs in Barcelona-Catalonia, such as Teladoc Health, Zur Rose-Profarma, Sanofi, Novartis, Roche Diagnostics, and Ypsomed.

We can find international companies in the medical devices sector such as BBraun Surgical, Roche Diagnostics, Qiagen, Grifols Diagnostics, Werfen, Hartmann, and Avinent.   

A powerful beauty and wellness industry

The beauty and personal care industry is a broad sector that includes the areas of cosmetics and make-up, fragrances, personal hygiene, and skin and hair care. It is a highly internationalized sector in Catalonia, with 576 companies that account for nearly half of the Spanish industry exports.

Regarding wellness and well-being, there is a growing number of Silver Economy companies in Catalonia, primarily engaged in health and quality of life.

Main players and events
in health & life sciences.

Check below which are the main institutions and players that make Barcelona-Catalonia life sciences sector a success.

Related success stories
in Barcelona (Catalonia).