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BIO-Europe Spring
Save the dateMarch 17–19, 2025 | Milan, Italy
Save the date,
March 17–19, 2025 | Milan, Italy

Spotlight on Barcelona

A world-class network of health institutions, hospitals, research centers, biotech and healthtech startups and scaleups, and pharma companies has turned Barcelona and Catalonia into a leading life sciences hub, attracting multinationals to develop their clinical trials and global business leaders to establish their innovation hubs.

Why Barcelona?

Top spot for startups and scaleups

  • Barcelona and Catalonia are home to 1,400 companies, including nearly 500 startups and scaleups.
  • Healthcare startups and scaleups in Catalonia secured €220 million in 2023, a year that was complicated by the global geopolitical and economic situation.
  • The 85 healthcare startups and scaleups in Catalonia that work in AI (artificial intelligence) applications raised over €73 million in 2023, the highest figure in history, and have seen steady growth over the past 5 years.
  • Notably, 26% of life sciences and healthcare startups in Catalonia are spinoffs from research organizations.
  • An inspiring 32% of these emerging companies are led by women.

A key research and innovation hub in Europe

  • Catalonia and Barcelona host 91 research institutions, including renowned centers, university hospitals, and advanced facilities like the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and Alba Synchrotron.
  • Catalonia and the Barcelona metropolitan area are constantly welcoming international innovation centers and multinational corporations, which in the past 5 years have set up 25 new hubs of excellence. These include AstraZeneca, which helped beat records in 2023 in foreign direct investment (some €1.025 billion) and new jobs created (some 1,843).
  • Catalonia is among the top 10 countries in the world in participation in clinical trials, ranked 5th in Europe and surpassed only by countries like France, Spain (with Catalan centers taking part in 88.5% of all active clinical trials in the country), Italy and the United Kingdom. On the global ranking, led by the United States and China in the first two positions, Catalonia is ranked eighth.
  • The BioRegion’s pipeline includes 73 therapies developed in a wide variety of clinical areas, led by oncology, the central nervous system and dermatology. Nearly 70% of the treatments are close to hitting the market and becoming available to the public (phase II and III). It includes 9 advanced therapies in clinical development, where oncology is once again the main area of research. Hospital Clinic Barcelona (FCRB-IDIBABS) is the most noteworthy, having developed the first CAR-T therapy in Europe for multiple myeloma and CAR-T ARI-0003, its third therapy, for lymphoma.
  • Catalonia ranks near the top in Europe by scientific production and competitive EU funds secured, comparable to countries like Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Foreign Investment

  • A top location for international companies: International companies are increasingly deciding on Catalonia and Barcelona for their investments in Europe. Modern and easy connections by plane, roads and maritime transportation ensure a broad market reach within 24 hours.
  • The high level of science, technology and business in the BioRegion of Catalonia are the focus of international capital, which in 2023 joined operations representing 58% of the funds invested.
  • Catalonia and Barcelona have been recognized as the region and city with the best foreign investment attraction strategy in Europe, according to fDI Magazine, a prestigious international ranking from the Financial Times group.

Great hub of qualified local and international talent

  • Catalonia is home to some of the best universities in Europe and produces a huge number of talented professionals yearly. The public Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) ranks 1st in Europe in scientific production in the field of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, while another public university, the University of Barcelona, is also considered the 7th best in Europe.
  • A combination of a dynamic professional atmosphere, a great lifestyle, and even better career possibilities makes Barcelona a magnet for skilled foreign professionals. The capital of Catalonia ranks among the top 10 cities in the world to work abroad.

Barcelona top rankings

  • The city of Barcelona is considered the 3rd best European city and the 8th in the world (World’s Best cities 2021, Resonance Consulting, 2021).
  • Barcelona is the 3rd best European city and the 6th in the world (World’s Best cities Resonance Consulting, 2023)
  • Barcelona ranks among the top 10 cities in the world to work abroad (Decoding Global Talent, Onsite and Virtual, Boston Consulting Group, 2021)
  • Barcelona is the 9th most attractive global city (Global Cities Investment Monitor, KPMG 2021)
  • Barcelona is the 2nd most livable city in the world  (Institute for Urban Strategies The Mori Memorial Foundation, Global Power City Index, 2022)
  • Barcelona is the 5th European city that captures the most technological Investment (Cushman & Wakefield, 2022).

Explore Barcelona’s Buzzing Biotech Sector at BIO-Europe Spring 2024!

“Barcelona! Such a beautiful horizon, like a jewel in the sun,’ sang Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé in an amazing partnership for the opening song for the 1992 Summer Olympics. And soon BIO-Europe Spring will be coming to Spain’s thriving life sciences beside-the-sea hub, from March 18 - 20, with virtual partnering from March 26 - 27. Join us to get set up for your own amazing partnering meetings on partneringONE.

2024 – Regional Host Delegation


2023 Catalonia BioRegion Report

The life sciences and healthcare sector in Catalonia, commonly referred to as the 'BioRegion', emerges as a key catalyst for innovation, economic and social advancement in the region. Barcelona, hosting 94% of the sector, stands prominently as one of the most dynamic health research and innovation hubs in Europe. 

Barcelona: The best startup ecosystem of Southern Europe

In 2023 Barcelona and Catalonia had 2,102 startups, with an impressive growth of 93.6% in the last 7 years. Healthcare was the top startup sector making up 16.9% of this figure. Read the full report on Startups in Catalonia published by Catelonia Trade & Investment.