The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has chosen Barcelona to build a significant R&D reference center in Europe to develop new therapies. The company will invest 800 million euros and create 1,000 new jobs in the next five years.
AstraZeneca's R&D hub in Barcelona aims to become an excellent reference center for clinical innovation in Europe. The facility will coordinate international projects across the company's five main therapeutic areas: oncology, cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic diseases, respiratory diseases, vaccines and immunotherapies, and rare diseases.
By bringing together highly skilled professionals and cutting-edge technological resources, the hub aims to advance the development of new therapies and address patients' unmet needs. Experts in clinical development and operations, pharmaceutical sciences and regulatory affairs, drug safety, data analysis and informatics, biostatisticians, and artificial intelligence engineers, among others, will be working at the new center.
The global CEO of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, announced the company's investment plans in Spain for 2025. According to Soriot, "the Spanish R&D ecosystem is first class, and we are committed to working with the Government to unleash the potential of innovative medicines as a driver of long-term economic growth. We will continue to invest and grow our capabilities in environments committed to innovation and development". Soriot also highlighted the importance of public-private collaboration in developing new medicines, numbering up to 300 clinical trials produced during the previous year in Spain, in which over 4,500 patients participated.
During the announcement, the participants highlighted the high level of Spanish professionals and the country's R&D ecosystem. Spain has authorized more than 900 clinical trials with medicines, and Catalonia alone has 91 research centers and more than 1,300 biopharmaceutical, healthcare, MedTech, and digital health companies.
In 2021, the company invested more than 93 million euros in innovative projects, which multiplied last year and placed the investment to almost 400 million euros.
The international pharmaceutical investment project in Barcelona has the support of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, the Catalan Government agency for foreign investment and business competitiveness. In recent years Barcelona has become a strategic location for the company, specifically since, at the end of last year, it inaugurated, together with Alexion, its clinical trial center for rare diseases, with an investment of 32 million euros.
According to data from ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, Catalonia ranks sixth in Europe in the development of clinical trials, with more than 1,200 active, 50% in oncology, one of the areas in which AstraZeneca is stronger.
“We will continue to invest and grow our capabilities in environments committed to innovation and development”
Pascal Soriot, Global CEO of AstraZeneca
The center culminates the Generalitat's actions to grow in the biomedical sector
For the Catalan Government, this is a strategic investment for Catalonia, which will contribute to accelerating R&D activities in the pharmaceutical field and position Catalonia as one of the leading territories in Europe in the Life Sciences sector.
This area represents almost 9% of the country's GDP and brings together more than 1,350 companies in Catalonia that generate 247,000 jobs.
Roger Torrent, the Minister of Business and Labour, emphasized, "AstraZeneca choosing Barcelona for this hub is great news from a business, scientific, and social point of view. A project that involves the creation of 1,000 skilled jobs and is synonymous with scientific and social progress throughout the country, Europe, and the world." Torrent assured that "Catalonia has the assets, the capacity, and the ambition to lead the field of life sciences in Europe."
The president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Pere Aragonès, and the Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, has held several working meetings with AstraZeneca's representatives in the last months.
Of the company's last year's investments in Spain, 48 million corresponds to R&D. Part of the whole effort in the country corresponds to its subsidiary, Alexion, a US company acquired in 2021.
AstraZeneca has been growing during the last exercises. Last year, its workforce in Spain increased by 20%, reaching 1,300 employees. Moreover, the number will increase considerably in about four years with these 1,000 new acquisitions.
Last year, AstraZeneca already announced opening a new hub in Barcelona to develop drugs for rare diseases. This project meant the creation of 100 specialized jobs in research and development.
Source: AstraZeneca and Catalonia Trade & Investment