Spain sector report – Biotechnology

Executive summary

The main applications of biotechnology in the Spanish and European economies can be classified into three broad groups:

In 2018 (latest available figures), biotechnology companies in Spain accounted for 0.7% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The activities of these biotech firms have generated more than €8.2 billion in income.  The creation of employment of biotechnology companies has been growing steadily since 2014, to over 217,000 jobs in 2018.

In 2018, the biotechnology sector invested nearly € 770 million in R&D, with strictly biotechnology firms making up most of that investment, 71% of the total, followed by companies that use biotechnology as a production tool, which invested roughly 21%. In 2018, 1,785 patents were applied for in Spain, an increase of 0,8% compared to 2017. Spain has a National Center for Biotechnology (CNB per its Spanish acronym), located in Madrid, which is the reference research center in the field of biotechnology in the country.

The Spanish biotechnology market offers interesting opportunities for co-development with largest multinationals operating in the market. Additionally, the European Union's (EU) ambitious climate goals, green investments plan and food sustainability actions will foster biotech R&D calls and new projects in the country.

Therapeutics and diagnosis, Medical Technology, Agri-food biotechnology and Industrial biotechnology are the subsectors offering opportunities that are more relevant for Canadian biotech companies.

Spain and Canada both have a great innovation ecosystem, with active funding agencies, many cooperation agreements, and relevant public and private R&D focused organizations. Funding offered by several research initiatives such as Eureka and Eurostars allows Canadian and Spanish companies to jointly develop business-oriented innovation projects with a focus on taking them to market.

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