The Spanish biotech sector is growing. This attracts more and more international investors. End of September ASEBIO organised the first edition of an Investor Day.
More than 100 people joined the first edition of this event organised by the Spanish biotech organisation ASEBIO end of September in the Barcelona Science Parc. Around 30 startups and SMEs presented its business plans to more than 50 Spanish, French, Swiss and British investors, among them well-known names such as Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, Medicxi Ventures, Merck Ventures, Sofinnova Partners, Novartis Venture Fund and Ysios Capital. “Spain is definitely a region to watch out,” said Giovanni Mariggi, Partner at UK-based Medicxi who in June 2017 enlarged its investment strategy and launched its first $300m late stage life science fund for European life science companies. "There is enough money in the European market," emphasised Gilles Nobecourt from French Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners during a panel discussion at the Investor Day. He also announced a new fund to be closed in some weeks: “We will then have the largest life science fund in Europe under management.”
From novel drugs to algae-based products
The strong investors interest was welcomed by the 30 company leaders who presented their technologies and products. Contentwise, the topics ranged from novel drugs to combat antimicrobial resistance (Remab, Vaxdyn), cancer (Ability Pharma, Leadartis), Alzheimer’s disease (Tetraneuron) or inner ear disorders (Spiral Therapeutics) to innovative diagnostic solutions (NBS Newborn solutions) or drug discovery technologies (Aniling), regenerative medicine approaches (Regemat3D, Qrem) and algae-based products for the use in cosmetics or agriculture (AlgaeEnergy, Neoalgae).
Strong local investors community
“During the last ten years, the Spanish Biotech sector significantly improved in terms of maturity and financings,” underlined Ion Arocena, CEO of ASEBIO. According to the latest Spanish biotech report, 26 deals with €63.6m took place in 2016, 158 alliances were announced and 43 startups were founded, he said. From his perspective, these numbers demonstrate the hugh development the sector has made since 2008, when the Spanish government decided to put extra money into the life sciences. “Back than, some people believed that Life Sciences are not a real industry. Today, we have successfully established a dynamic ecosystem which is the basis for a strong local investors community and which in turn attracts now the more and more international investors”, Arocena pointed out. For this year, the numbers also indicate further growth. Arocena: "We already now obtained the level of the whole year of 2016."
Barcelona as a key player for the sector
One of the key players in the Spanish biotech ecosystem is Barcelona-based Ysios Capital. Founded in 2008, the VC has €191.4m in assets under management through its two funds. It already invested in 11 Spanish companies which until today raised a total of €300m. “Only €15m came from us and this demonstrates the value local investors can have,” said Raul Marin-Ruiz, Partner from Ysios Capital.
A hugh impact and major driver of the Spanish growth is the Barcelona area. “Catalonia is the leading region for life sciences in Spain,” Albert Barberà, Director-General of Health and Innovation from the Catalonian Government underlined during the event. From this perpective the location of the Investor Day was properly chosen as Ignasi Belda, CEO of Barcelona Science Parc, said: “We started 20 years ago and today, we are home of four R&D science centers and more than 50 life science companies.”
BIO Spain in 2018
Because of the success of the first edition of the Investor Day, the organisers already look forward to the next event that will shed light on the Spanish biotech sector. “In September next year, we expect around 3,000 people joining for BIO Spain,” said David Fernández from ASEBIO.