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The 4th edition of BIO-Europe Spring® will attract leaders from the international biotech industry to Barcelona, Spain on March 8-10, where local host BioRegion of Catalonia (Biocat) promises to surprise attendees with opportunities for projects, products and investments.
Biocat today can claim 70 companies working in the biotechnology space. Monteserrat Vendrell, CEO of Biocat, says that "the Spanish government, thanks to the collapse of the country's real estate market, is now convinced of the need to continue its support of diversifying the nation's economy and sees the growing strength of Catalonia's biocluster as a driver for growth."
"We have supported the creation of 20 new companies each year since 2005," said Dr. Vendrell, including university start-ups and pharmaceutical spin-offs averaging from five to ten employees with the largest now having an 80-person staff.
"We are creating a young and emerging sector," she said. "This is not about some researcher from Denmark who likes the sun moving down to Barcelona. This is about real infrastructure, an English-language scientific community and a momentum growing rapidly in structural biology and genomics that could not have been imagined even five years ago."
An example of past investments that are now bearing fruit is the ongoing Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) program, which has attracted 150 advanced researchers with permanent contracts at universities or research centers of their choice in the region. One third of these scientists are foreign born and now located in Catalonia, another third are Catalonian who worked for world-leading organizations and have now returned home, and a third are accomplished researchers from the region who met a requirement of having worked at least four years abroad.
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