Let´s travel along the spanish biotech ecosystem and discover its bioregions!
Biotech Featured

Let´s travel along the spanish biotech ecosystem and discover its bioregions!

There isn´t better expedition for a biotech than be able to prospect the biotechnology market to the meeting of new trends and the last developments that allow her to differ and to grow bolder.

However, the real potencial arises when states, institutions and companies associate, creating an ecosystem thougth to supply from wide adaptative resources and solid evolution lines to any project.

This is the way as companies can face the needs of our societies,  since we are confronting a real race against time in order to revolutionize the current overexploitation, consumerism and pollution models. 

Again the bioregions are raised as bastions of this revolution.


It´s ok, but «how many bioregions exist in spain and of what do they consist?»


Spain has 11 bioclusters an one nacional biotech´s companies association.

Let´s travel along the territory of bull´s skin and figure out them on the stroke of the click.

Let´s begin from  the regions of the north, specifically from one that borders on the brave coast of the Mediterranean sea.



Bioadventurer, are you ready?



The Catalonia´s BioregionBioCat”, is a public private organisation created in  2006.

This región by its own is placed among the 4 european countries with more number of biotech companies from the health sector per inhabitant. Namely:

  • is the first región in Europe in pharmaceutical companies per capita,
  • is also the 3rd European region in biotechnological companies per inhabitant (behind Sweden and Switzerland),
  • and the 4th in companies of medical technologies (behind Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark).

Its speed of growth has done that from 2010 fifty companies have been created, on average, a year.

All this allows that the companies of the sector are invoicing more than 15.956 million Euros per year, 7,1 % of the GDP of Catalonia, and that they employ 46.676 workers.  

Whit regard to the investment attraction, between 2015 and the beginning of 2017 the companies of the Bioregion have attracted more than 165 million Euros in investiments, a 55% more than the investment attracted among 2013 and 2015.

2016 was the most succesful year for the investment in the Bioregion, managing to excel the three figures with 101,8 million of Euros thanks to investment rounds like the ones of STAT-Diagnostica (25 M€), Oryzon Genomics (16M€), Aelix Therapeutics (11,5 M€) and AB Biotics (11,2 M€).

Biocat is constituted by 871 companies, among them are:

  • 249 biotechnological.
  • 51 Pharma, and it is the origin and headquarters of big companies as

Almirall, Esteve, Ferrer, Grífols, Bioibérica, Lacer, Reig Jofré or Uriach. Cataluña receives also some of the most important multinationals biopharmas, as Amgen, Novartis, Sanofi, Roche, Bayer, B.Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim, Chiesi, Hartmann, Lundbeck or Menarini.

  • 89 of medical innovative technologies
  • 91 healthtech or digital health
  • 219 suppliers and engineerings
  • 144 professional services and consulting
  • and 29 active investment entities, among them stand out biotech´s spacialized investor like Caixa Capital Risc, Ysios Capital, Inveready and HealthEquity, or the last one to be created, Alta Life Sciences.

In addition it possesses 95 research entities, including 41 Research Centers, 18 University Hospitals, 14 Scientific and Technological parks with activities in life´s sciences, 12 Universities that conduct careers in life´s sciences, 7 Technological Centers and 3 big scientific infrastructures, like the ALBA Synchrotron, the Barcelona´s Supercomputing Center (BSC) and the Nacional Center of Genomics Analysis (CNAG).

Therefore, Catalonia takes place at the head of the Spanish State regard to the number of Biotech´s companies (21,76%) and Biotechnology usuaries companies (18,61%), followed by Madrid and Andalusia.


Let´s continue our getaway with the three clusters that follow it in size and turnover: Madrid, Andalusia and the Basque Country.



Spain is the 5th most important European market in turnover and employment generation in the pharmaceutical industry.

In the Madrid Community are located more than 400 companies that are generating more than 24.000 directs jobs in pharmaceutical, biomedical and medical equipment industries, due to that are carried out more than 650 clinical trials a year in which are involved about 25.000 patients.   

A fourth of the total of biotech companies located in Spain are in this community and its turnover represents more than 60% of the whole Spain and the 87% of its investment in R&D in the biomedical sector.

At present 46 companies form a part of BioMadrid Biotech´s Cluster, created in 2007, being in its great majority SMES dedicated to the biomedical sector, which has been revealed as a great strategic sector for the Community.

Some of its characteristics are:

  • High companies concentration specialized in the search of new medicines against cáncer, Alzheimer, infectious and cardiovascular diseases.

In fact, the Cluster MADRID PLATFORM FOR THE HEALTH AND THE WELL-BEING groups the principal innovative companies of the Health Sector, Rsearch Centers, services companies, Administration and user groups.

  • Availability of qualified Professionals. More than 600 new doctors in specialities related to Health Sciences graduate every year. 

More than 5.000 researchers are employed at universities and public Research Centers and contribute with almost a third of the Spanish total of scientific publications in biomedicine.

  • Infrastructures that favor activities on research and development and the technological transfer to the industrial sector: Universities and centers of excellence in biomedical investigation; scientific parks that provide physical access and services for the managerial development and technological development to innovative companies; hospitals; technological platforms; and the regional technology transfer network (Madri+d).

Thus, Madrid receives to the majority of the international companies from the pharma´s sector, as Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck Serono, Novartis, Abbott Laboratories, Roche and Genzyme.

Besides its production centers, companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sharp & Dohme, Sanofi Aventis, Janssen Cilag and Lilly, have established in this community their Research Centers of Excellence.


From the Goya´s home Let´s move now to Boabdil’s territories.

Andalusia, here we go!



Andalusia´s Bioregion constitutes one of the most advanced and dynamic Spanish bioclusters.

From 2009, Andalusia places among the three regions that are leading the creation of biotechnological companies in Spain, being red and green biotechnology (biomedical and agri-food, respectively) the principal ones in the region.

Also The blue biotechnology is a sector in growth in the maritime provinces of the Autonomous Community.

This Bioregion count with:

  • More than 200 companies with Biotechnology activity.

The region has attracted to big companies like Abbott, Basf, Bayer Cropscience, B. Braun, Bionaturis, Biomedal, DowDupont, Celgene, Fundación Medina, Rovi Pharmaceuticals, Monsanto, Axa Farma and NLife Therapeutics.

  • 270 research teams specialized in Health Sciences and Technologies, 170 research teams specialized in Life Sciences and 120 research teams specialized in Agri-food Biotechnology. This fact has done that Big multinationals have chosen Andalusia for the development of research and innovation porjects in the biomedical and Agri-food´s sectors.
  • 10 Public Universities with matters in life sciences.
  • 5 Centers of the Spanish Nacional Research Council (CSIC).
  • 10 Technological parks
  • 7 Biomedical Research Centers
  • 3 European Companies and Innovation Centers
  • 14 regional and specialities Hospitals
  • 4 biobanks

Andalusia has been one of the first regions of the world in authorized the research with embryonic stem cells and is pioneering in Spain in the introduction of advanced therapies.

Andalusia Bioregion relies on great experience in nutrition, solid capacities in functional food, in biomedical research and in projects of pharmaceutical production.

The relation and collaboration between universities, the Andalusian public health system and the companies is very important for the region´s development of the biotech sector, which has generated more than 3.000 jobs and represents a turnover of more than 6.000 M €.

In addition it possesses the first Spanish Technological Park specialized in health, the PTS in Granada, which facilities of forefront allow research and public and private collaborations.


From the south to the peninsular northern, let’s discover the Basque bioregion.



Within the Basque Country Bioregion,BioBasque”, operate different companies clusters and public institutions dedicated specially to the health sector (Basque Health Cluster), research and development (the Research Centers of CICbioGUNE, CICbiomaGUNE, Biocruces, Biodonostia and bioef), and agri-food (Hazi, the Technological Center Azti and the Research and Technological development Basque´s Institute NEIKER-Tecnalia)

Among all of them add more than 94 entities that realize biotechnology research, of that 75 develop this activity in an exclusive way, dedicating more than the half of their internal expense to R&S. Among these 94 entities, 88 are biotechnological companies.

With regard to the internal expense in R&D in Biotechnology, in the Basque Country it ascended to 85,7 million Euros in 2015 and represented 6,7 % of the internal total expense in research and development, according to the information elaborated by Eustat.

The employed staff represents more than 1.891 persons, and they suppose 6,9 % of the staff dedicated R&D in the Basque Country.

Let´s drive a fast eyes shoot to BioBasque’s principal clusters.



Basque Health Cluster is a non-profit association constituted in 2010 that coordinates, manages and promotes the common interests of the companies from the health sector.

Nowadays 30 associate companies constitute it, 58 adding their subsidiaries, which in 2014 reached a turnover of 268 million Euros, of which 78,7 % (211 millions) came from the export of their products and services to international markets. The set of the association´s companies contributes to the maintenance of 1.632 direct employments.

BioGUNE and BiomaGUNE: both are infrastructures of support to R&D created by the administration in that CICbioGUNE is the center of reference in molecular, cellular and structural biology, only one in the State and leader to the European level. Together with it, it is the CICbiomaGUNE, pioneer in the research of biomaterials, biofunctionals nanomaterials and biosurfaces, in that stands out the unit of Molecular Image.

Bioef is the principal modal of the Basque Sanitary Public System together with the institutes of Sanitary Research Biocruces and Biodonostia, both of them dedicated to promotion of research and sanitary innovation.

On the other hand, the Agri-food sector of Basque Country relies on Hazi, whose principal aimis to stimulate the competitiveness and the sustainability of the primary and food sector, and the Technological Centers: Azti, focused in the marine and food research, and the Basque´s Research and Technological Development Institute NEIKER-Tecnalia, focused to the knowledge and innovative transferable solutions development that contribute to add value to the Agri-food sector.

Hitherto we have crossed the four big bioregions from the Spanish territory.


Let’s now pass to visit those which follow them in number of biotech companies and biotechnology users companies: the Valencian Community and the Community of Galicia.



The Valencian Community is the 5th spanish region with major density of companies from the sector, concentrating 8,95% of companies dedicated to biotechnology and 6,29% of biotech users companies.

BIOVAL arises in 2006 as enterprising initiative, but until 2010 it is not constituted the Valencian Community Bioregion in an official way, by the signature of the Collaboration Protocol with the Autonomous government of the Generalitat. In sum with AEBA (Biotechnology Managerial Association of Alicante), created in 2014, they form the Valencian biocluster.

Since then  BIOVAL has stirred the bio sector into action acting as speaker between its more than 80 companies, Research Centers, Universities, Hospitals and technological centers to develop alliances and synergies among partners, in order to promote the Bioregion to different levels:

  • Regional, by means of the Strategy of Industrial Policy (EPI) of the Autonomous government of the Generalitat.
  • National across the RIS3-CV (Strategy of Intelligent Specialization for the Research and Innovation in the Comunitat Valenciana).
  • European by means of the program H2020.

Among the sectors in which it is focused, we can find ones wich belong to the area of:


Let´s jump from the region of Fallas and paellas and venture across the Santiago´s Ways toward the territory of Meigas and Camaimadas.



Constituted in 2010, Bioga, the Galicia´s Biotech Cluster, it has currently 62 partners, of which a third (22) are Universities and Sanitary Foundations spin-offs.

Around this core there are more than 135 biotechs users companies, particularly in the agri-food sector, what demostrates the increasing weight of the sector in the Community´s economy.

Regard to its turnovers, the activity of the companies that integrate the Bioga Cluster:

  • Generated in 2014 more than 235 million Euros and already it employs more than 2.100 persons, 60 % of the employment covered by university graduates and doctors.
  • The expense in biotechnology research and development in 2014 was 64,6 million Euros, 13,5 per cent of the whole community´s expense in R&D (two points over the state average).
  • In 2015, it caught more than 27 million Euros.
  • 47 % of its companies has presence on international markets as Portugal, France and The United States.

The 34 % of the Bioga´s partners are linked to the research, 23 % to the agrifood sector and 20 % to the health. The rest work at areas as the nanobiotecnology, the pharmaceutical industry or the environment.

The aspect that differenciates the Galicia´s Biocluster is the focusing of its resarch and managerial network in mature productive sectors like agrifoodstuffs, the aquicultural one or the agroforestal, offering transverse solutions in the design of the 4.0 Industry, fundamental for the impulse that the bioregion is developing.

Subsequently let´s do an incursion into those regions from the spanish territory with a volumen of biotech companies between 5 and 3% of the total of Spain: among them Castilla y León and Aragon.    



The Castilla y León Community posseses two biotech clusters which compound its Bioregion. On the one hand Vitartis is focused on the Agrifood Biotechnology and Biotecyl is focused on Biomedical, which represent 4,88 % of the number of Spanish biotech companies and to 6,94 % of the biotech users companies.

Vitartis is the  Castilla y León´s Agrifood Biotech Association, it was funded in 2009. It is constituted by 87 companiess and 13 Technological Centers.

Let’s attend to some prominent information from the sector, which position it in one of the principal economic sources of the region:

  • The turnover overcomes 800 millions of €, near 40 % of the turnover of the regional sector.
  • As for the total employment in companies, it constitutes 000 working places, near 40 % of the employment of the sector in the region.
  • The investment in R&D of the Vitartis´s partners reached the 60M €, approximately 60 % of this investment in the regional sector

On the other hand, Biotecyl, The Castilla y León´s Health Cluster, is born in 2013 in union with PHARMAENLACE, with the aim to turn into the reference and representative forum of the Community´s activity set.

Biotecyl ia constituted by approximately 30 organizations, among which are included companies and public and private entities:

  • 10 companies: AMADIX, Antibiotics of León, Biomar, Cytognos, GADEA Pharmaceutical Group, LION RESEARCH, Innovagenomics, mABxience, IMMUNOSTEP and RAMAN HT.
  • 5 Universities: of Valladolid, of León (Institute of Biomedicine, IBIOMED), of Salamanca (USAL), Catholic of Avila (UCAV), of Burgos.
  • 4 hospitals: Clinical University Hospital of Valladolid, University Hospital of Burgos, University Hospital Rio Hortega, León’s Hospital.
  • 8 Research Centers: General Foundation of the ULE and the Company (FGULEM), León’s Biotechnology Institute (INBIOTEC), Cancer Research Center (CIC), Institute of Biomedical Research (IBSAL), General Hospital Foundation of the Santísima Trinidad, the Valladolid´s University General Foundation (FUNGE-GRAPE), Castilla y León´s Health Sciences Studies Institute Foundation, Castilla y León´s Technological Institute.
  • 2 partners collaborators: Ade and Sacyl.


Let´s inspire by the celebration of the fiesta of Pilar and the lovers of Teruel´s passion. Aragon opens its doors to us!



ARABIOTECH is the independent Aragon´s Biotech Companies Organization, founded in may of 2013.

It is constituted by 8 companies and Research Centers focused on Agrifood and Biomedical sectors. Let´s discover some of the most relevants:

  • ARVENSIS AGRO S.A., top company in the development of technology applied to agriculture. It is present in more than 30 countries, of 5 continents and relies on an annual production capable of providing of treatments to the surface equivalent to the half of the agricultural surface of Spain, adding more than 330 different formulae.
  • Center of Genetic Analyses C.A.G.T., the first laboratory deprived of Spain specialized in Human Genetics.
  • EBERS Medical Technology SL, is a biotechnological company focused on the design, manufacture and commercialization of scientific advanced instrumentation of celular culturing, as biorreactores for three-dimensional culturing and the design of culturing chambersbased on microfluidic technology.
  • Nanoimmunotech S.L., it is a Spanish company from the Nanobiotechnology sector, funded in august of 2009 and recognized as a EIBT (Innovative Companie with Technological Basis).

Offers a complete range of products, services and tailor-made projects, to be able to help its clients in the design of nanoparticles, nanomaterials or complexes nanosystems by means of bioconjugation, for the checking of the properties of their products, the reproducibility of their production or their biological effects on the organism and the environment, among others.

  • ZEULAB SL, is a Spanish biotechnology company specialized in the development, production and commercialization of in vitro diagnosis tests for the agrifood and environmental sectors, among them:
  • Food and Environment Diagnosis
  • Detection of antibiotics and veterinarians residues (hormones and tranquilizers)
  • Species Identification (Adulterations)
  • food Allergens
  • Biotoxins, micotoxins and pathogens


To finish, as last scale of our trip across the Spanish biotechnological sector it would suit to do a pass for the bioregions that compose between 3 and 1 % of the companies of the national sector. Among them Castilla la Mancha, and crossing seas and oceans, the Balearic and the Canaries Islands.


First let´s introduce into the one that was the principal region from which the Catholic kings directed their prosperous kingdom.



In Castilla la Mancha doesnt exist a Bioregión as such, nevertheless they are arranging the first foundations in order that the community turns into the whole bioeconómic potential to European level.


One of the principles of bioeconomics is based on the creation of an industrial and technological network based on sources of raw materials and energy extracted from biomass.


Castilla la Mancha parts form a sufficient availability of sources of foresty biomass, approximately 713.791 tons / year of Forest Residual biomass, as to allow its energetic self-sufficiency by means of renewables, among them the biorefineries, which in turn also allow the production of raw materials and products (bioproducts, biofuels, food, ect) for great variety of sectors.    

Let´s check it out to the project by which the La Mancha´s Community wants to achieve this.

At the end of 2013, the Council´s Government of Castilla la Mancha was giving its ok to an agreement with the Department of Economy and Competitiveness to destine 20 M € (16 from the central Government and 4 from the autonomous one) with the aim to lay the foundations to turn the region in the modal of the South of Europe in the field of biomass utilization research.

Hereby, there was born the project CLaMber (Castilla la Mancha Bio Economy Region) based on two principal axes: a pilot scale biorrefinery and the contracting service of R&D for the applied investigation of the biotechs from the region.

In 2014, it was confirmed that the facilities of the pilot plant will be located in Puertollano. The construction was carried out during the years 2015 and 2016. Simultaneously, several projects of R&D were developing. At the end of 2016, was entrusted to GEACAM (public company of environmental management of the region) the set up of the plant, assigning 450,000 € for 2017 and 2018.

Thus, Puertollano’s biorrefinery is focused on:

  • Increase of the efficiency.
  • Cost reduction.
  • Validation of new processes of bioconversion.
  • and it tries to be a bridge between among the laboratory and the industrial scale.

It is constituted by several units that can use different raw materials (Lignocellulosic, starchy, oleaginous and residual mixings) depending on their  nature and of the bioproducts that are wanted to be obtained.

As for its capacity of processing it  is 1 ton/day of dry matter.

Among the services that it offers, they are: rent of facilities, project contracting of research and development, participation like partner in projects with competitive financing, and personnel training in industrial biotechnology.

Let’s jump now on the sand of the islands: Balearics and Canaries, there we go!



Bioib, the Biotechnological and Biomedical Cluster of the Balearic Islands, was born in 2010 as an initiative of the Government of the Balearic Islands and of the Balearic Association of Companies of Biotechnology, and is focused principally on the biomedical biotechnology.

In 2016 BIOIB obtained the label » Silver Label in Cluster Management Excellence «, a European level recognition of the management quality of the cluster and a way to continuing to advance towards the excellence.

Bioib is constituted by:

  • 5 research centers
  • 41 biocompanies
  • And 20 hospitals



With this tropical environment we come at the end of our trip.

Biotifarm is the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industry cluster of Canaries. It was created in 2010 and was born with the aspiration to position Canaries as a solid and ultramodern place for the research in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.

Biotifarm bases its differentiation and positioning strategy into taking advantage of its immense marine and terrestrial biodiversity, as well as of its strategic location between three continents, Europe, Africa and America.

Inside its services portfolio, Biotifarm offers: studies of biological activities, bioactive sustances extraction, service of chemical and biochemical analysis, establishment protocols of in vitro vegetable cultures, analytical technologies of quantification for chromotografy and waste treatment.

Biotifarm is formed of:

  • 4 research centers
  • 2 technological parks
  • 2 universities
  • 5 companies
  • 1 venture the capital

There has come the time to rest of our long trip along the biotech Spanish geography.

We will continue crossing the biotechnological ecosystems from the rest of the globe, but at the moment we can enjoy that the Spanish bioregions already have opened their doors to us.


Up to the next getaway bioaventurer!!


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