Pamplona will host the tenth edition of the BioSpain biotech conference in 2020

The Spanish Association of Biocompanies (AseBio) has chosen the capital of Navarra to host the tenth edition of the event, which will be held from 29 September to 1 October.

Pamplona será la sede en 2020 del congreso biotecnológico BioSpain

In 2020, Navarra will host the tenth edition of the benchmark trade fair in the biotech sector, known as BioSpain. The Spanish Association of Biocompanies (AseBio) has chosen the capital of Navarra to gather together more than 1,500 professionals from the biotech sector who participate every year in what is considered the fifth largest biotech event in the world in terms of the number of business meetings it generates. The event will be held from 29 September to 1 October in the Palacio de Baluarte in Pamplona / Iruña.

The fair will host a commercial exhibition, plenary sessions, an investors’ forum and bilateral business meetings between professionals from biotech and pharmaceutical companies, research institutes, universities and clusters. The government of Navarra will participate in organising the event via Sodena, which will be the local partner for the BioSpain2020 event.

This morning, the Regional Minister for Economic and Business Development, Manu Ayerdi, officially presented the fair accompanied by the president of the Spanish Association of Biocompanies (AseBio), Jordi Martí; the general manager of Asebio, Ion Arocena; and the managing director of Sodena, Pilar Irigoien.

Every year since BioSpain was launched, the numbers show the potential and evolution of this biotech gathering: it has managed to attract more than 10,600 participants and around 15,000 business meetings have been held its nine editions. In its 2018 edition alone, 3,300 one-to-one meetings were held in which 1,550 professionals participated.

As regional minister Manu Ayerdi stated, “biohealth is a strategic sector for us, and holding BioSpain in Navarra will make us a referent”. He added, “holding BioSpain here offers us the opportunity to show everything that is being done in Navarra and to expand our knowledge and forge relations with both local and international stakeholders”.

Ayerdi also stressed the significant concentration of biotech knowledge centres in Navarra, with a specialisation index of 265 (100 being the European average) and a growth index of 205 in recent years. “Our goal for 2030 is to be a benchmark in biomedical research, development and services, as well as in the provision of specialised services”, Ayerdi added.

The industry comprising Navarra’s ecosystem of biotech companies includes more than 30 companies in the biomedical field and another 40 in other health fields, in addition to 5 research centres which employ more than 2,400 professionals, 2 universities and 2 leading regional hospitals. “The government of Navarra is promoting public policies to strengthen this ecosystem, improve its competitiveness and make Navarra a benchmark in this field”, Ayerdi explained.

In the words of Jordi Martí, president of Asebio, “BioSpain is considered the fifth largest biotech event in the world based on the number of business meetings, so we are convinced that for Pamplona the 2020 edition will be an open door to the rest of the world, a place where investors, companies and researchers from all over the world will visit and forge bonds in the quest for new opportunities”.

Likewise, the managing director of Sodena, Pilar Irigoien, has stressed the publicly-owned company’s clear focus on this sector, proof of which is the investment activity that has been underway since the 1990s, which has ramped up the most in the past 15 years. Without detracting from the importance of all the companies that have been part of its portfolio, she highlighted the first financial support for a business from Navarra which manufactures and commercialises generic medicines and today is a leader in its sector in Spain, and the joint investment with third parties and the investors from a small company which develops drugs that have managed to create value and attract the interest of a “Big Pharma” company via the signing of a significant licencing agreement. 

BioSpain will have different spaces where the latest biotech trends will be shared. Therefore, in addition to the commercial exhibition, different plenary sessions will be held by national and international speakers.

Likewise, an investors’ forum will be held to attract licensing teams from pharmaceutical companies and domestic and international venture capital firms, as well as bilateral business meetings to foster technology transfer, where universities and research centres can forge contacts industry.

The gatherings will bring together stakeholders like representatives of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, research institutes, universities, clusters, investors, consultancy services and medical tech companies.

The companies attending BioSpain, many of them biotech SMEs from Spain, not only manage to generate new business opportunities but also use it as an international exhibition platform where they can share their biotech capacities firsthand. In fact, in the survey administered to participants in the 2018 edition, 84.81% claimed that they had identified real business opportunities.

A sector on the upswing
According to the 2018 Asebio Report, the number of companies from Navarra which primarily work in biotech showed a slight uptick in 2017. The biotech business ratio in Navarra is the highest in Spain, at 1.16 companies per 1,000, followed by the Basque Country with 0.8 and Catalonia with 0.64.

According to the latest figures available, Navarra contributes 68 companies with total turnover of €659M to the Spanish health ecosystem.