Arantxa Tapia: “The Basque Country has managed to develop links between advanced manufacturing and bio-health which are generating new businesses”

28 September, 2016

Biospain 2016 is rated among the “Top five” in the biotechnology world and 700 entities, 1,500 attendees and 45 investors are expected to take part in this edition. A novelty this year is the holding of a Patient Forum focusing on rare diseases, new developments in multiple sclerosis and the role of Patient Associations. The bio sector in the Basque Country accounts for 11% of corporate R&D investment and consists of 80 players, a cluster and European recognition as a BioRegion


Arantxa Tapia, Basque Government Economic Development and Competitiveness Minister, today opened the eighth edition of Biospain, the International Meeting on Biotechnology, being held in the BEC over three days and an international meeting place for biotechnology and biosciences. During her speech, the Minister highlighted that “We are faced with a huge opportunity for the diversification and consolidation of a new business sector, in which such traditional sectors as machine tools, for instance, develop cutting-edge solutions in very specialised niches in the health field”.


Ms. Tapia also expressed her satisfaction at the extensive presence of the Basque bio sector at the event, where almost half of Basque companies in the sector are taking part with their own stands and, in addition, are represented as speakers in every business forum, which shows that the sector has much to contribute on the international scene.


Biospain 2016, organised by the Spanish Bioindustry Association (ASEBIO) and SPRI (Basque business development agency), is rated among the “Top five” in the biotechnology world and foresees the participation of 700 entities, 1,500 attendees and 45 investors at this edition. The USA will be the guest country and an important presence of the scientific and business community from that country has been confirmed. Attendees from 25 other countries complete the international bio presence visiting the Basque Country over these three days.


“Holding an event like Biospain in our territory enables us to introduce and position our activity in this field internationally, meeting the business, investment, academic and informational needs of the sector”, stated Alexander Arriola, General Manager of the Basque business development agency, SPRI, dependent on the Basque Government Economic Development and Competitiveness Department, while also emphasizing that this is the second edition to be held in the Basque Country. “It means consolidation for the Basque Country as the place of reference in knowledge and technology intensive initiatives and recognition of the commitment made by the Basque Government to life sciences, a commitment that began in the year 2000 with a decisive drive for the Basque economy to adapt to an ever changing and more competitive world.


Among the novelties at Biospain, there are 16 that stand out: the Patient Forum focusing on rare diseases, new developments in multiple sclerosis and the role of Patient Associations, the holding of the 3rd Training and Employment Forum, and Big Data and CRISPR technology (genome editing technique with multiple biotechnology applications) trends.


The Basque presence at Biospain

The Basque stand at BIOBASQUE, 2,800 square meters, is centrally located and attended by the staff of 32 sector players: ALBIAN GROUP / BASQUE BIOCLUSTER / BIAL / BIOBIDE / BIOGENETICS / DYNAKIN / HISTOCELL-Artinvet / INNOPROT / I+MED / MICROLIQUID / MONDRAGON HEALTH / NORAYBIO / ONCOMATRYX / OWL / PRAXIS PHARMACEUTICAL / SENDABIO / STEMTEK THERAPEUTICS / VITIA HEALTHY EXPERIENCE / VIVEbioTECH / CIC bioGUNE / CIC biomaGUNE / IK4 Research Alliance / TECNALIA / Azti-Tecnalia / Neiker-Tecnalia / BIC GIPUZKOA / BIC BIZKAIA / BIC ARABA / TECNUN / UPV/EHU / BTI Biotechnology Institute.


All industrial discussion sessions will have at least one Basque speaker, as follows: Regenerative Medicine – BTI and Histocell; CRISPR – Vive Biotech; New Oncology Therapies – Oncomatryx; Vaccines – Bial; Public Procurement of Innovation – Basque Government Health Department; Food & Health – AZTI, Innovation in Diagnostics – Owl; Nanobiotechnology – IK4-CIDETEC; Cosmetics – Tecnalia and, finally, Animal Health – Artinvet and Neiker.


The Basque BioRegion has organised a specific session, MEDTECH: An opportunity for a manufacturing region, at which four cases of companies that have made the leap from the industrial to the biohealth sector will be presented, showing the business opportunities that arise from the biohealth-advanced manufacturing binomial. The companies are KIRO ROBOTICS, CIKAUTXO MEDICAL, I-LINE MicroSystems and BTI Biotechnology Institute.


The bio business sector in the Basque Country

At present, more than 80 institutions are conducting biotechnology research in the Basque Autonomous Community, of which 71 are biotech companies. Turnover for the sector is in excess of 304 million euros per year, with exports accounting for 18%.

The Basque business biotechnology sector is made up mainly of small and medium-sized companies, intensive in highly qualified personnel, developing products and services mainly applied to human health, the agri-food sector and industry.

The biotech sector employs 1,183 people full-time, representing 6.4% of the total workforce dedicated to R&D in the Basque Country, in which the presence of women stands out, as they represent over 60% of the total number of persons working in biotechnology. Employment in the sector has increased by more than 28% since 2009.

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