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Investment in R&D by Biotech Companies Grows by 17%, up to 1.21 Billion Euros

The Spanish biotechnology sector, detailed in the AseBio 2023 Report, generated over €16.6 billion in 2022, 1.5% of GDP, and contributed 162,845 jobs. Private financing reached a historical high of €228 million. R&D investment surpassed €1.2 billion. Biotech companies increased by 8.5% to 974, with a strong focus on human health.




General overview of the biotechnology sector in Spain. The Spanish Association of Biocompanies (AseBio) presented this Wednesday, June 12, at the Rafael del Pino Foundation in Madrid, the AseBio 2023 Report 25 years of biotechnology , which has had the support of Amadix, MSD and Oryzon Genomics as main collaborators .

In 2022, the activity of biotech companies in Spain generated more than 16.6 billion euros in income, which represents 1.5% of the national gross domestic product (GDP) . Tax collection amounts to 6,483 million euros, a figure that represents 0.6% of GDP. The turnover of biotechnology companies increased by 9.4% in 2022 compared to the previous year, reaching 19,676 million euros.

Biotech companies contribute 162,845 jobs, that is, 0.85% of the total employment. Average productivity has exceeded half a million euros per employee , more than four times higher than the average productivity of the economy, and with average salaries that double the national average.

Historical maximum of private financing

After the decrease registered in 2022 in private financing raised by the sector, in 2023 it increased by 37% and the historical maximum was recorded: more than 228 million euros in 42 operations , with an average volume of operations of 5. 4 million euros. In this sense, it should be noted that the largest investments involve the participation of international investors.

The volume of investment raised in capital increase operations with the participation of international investors is close to 150 million euros . In 2023, ten companies have had the support of investors from countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Italy.

Biotech companies have achieved more than twelve million euros through crowdfunding and financial instruments in the form of loans or equity participations from regional entities and Enisa, as well as the risky debt of the EIC Fund.

Investment in R&D exceeds 6.3% of total national investment

In 2022, the biotechnology sector invested 1,218 million euros in research and development (R&D), which represents more than 6.3% of the total national investment in R&D . 67% of the investment in R&D by biotechnology companies is financed with their own funds, and 44% of the investment is allocated to remunerating research and technical staff. They are followed by funds from the business sector, with 13%, and with 10%, both funds from the Public Administration and funds from other countries.

The biotechnology sector maintains fifth position in terms of R&D investment intensity, after other sectors such as R&D, automotive, pharmaceutical and educational services.

Sector intensive in science and in hiring researchers

Biotech companies, for yet another year, maintain the second position in the ranking of sectors with the highest percentage of researchers over total employees, with 13.7% and only behind R&D services companies .

The report shows that in 2022, Spanish scientific production in the area of ​​biotechnology knowledge represented 2.4% of global production . In addition, 21% more are cited than the global average. These figures place Spain in ninth position in the world in the number of documents in biotechnology.

More and more students are looking to biotechnology for their professional future. Since the 2015-2016 academic year, the number of students enrolled in undergraduate or master’s degree biotechnology studies has increased by 25% . In 2022-2023, the last period with available data, there are already more than 9,300 students between master’s and bachelor’s degrees, of which more than 60% are women.

For seven years, the participation of women in the sector has been above 50% and, since 2020, the percentage of representation has remained at 53%. 60% of the personnel dedicated to R&D activities in biotech companies are women, and they represent 29.2% of the management teams of biotechnology companies.

The number of biotechnology companies in Spain increases by 8.5%

The number of companies in the sector in Spain continues to grow for another year. Two decades ago the sector had around fifty companies considered strictly as biotech . A figure that today rises to 974, after a growth of 8.5% in 2022 . The photograph that we observe of the biotechnology business fabric in Spain reveals that 47% are SMEs and 49% are microSMEs.

By number of companies, Catalonia maintains its leadership with the largest number of biotechnology companies: 24.85% of the total . Behind them are the Community of Madrid (17.25%), Andalusia (12.94%), the Basque Country (9.45%), and the Valencian Community (8.62%).

52% of biotech companies direct their activity to human health , followed by food with 32%, agriculture and forestry production with 19%. Companies that focus their activity on the environment, animal health and aquaculture represent 13% in each case. Finally, 10% are dedicated to industrial biotechnology.

Finally, biotech companies closed 332 alliances in 2022, of which 224 were with public entities and foundations, which represents an increase of 13%.


(Featured image by Mathieu Stern via Unsplash)

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Eva Wesley is an experienced journalist, market trader, and financial executive. Driven by excellence and a passion to connect with people, she takes pride in writing think pieces that help people decide what to do with their investments. A blockchain enthusiast, she also engages in cryptocurrency trading. Her latest travels have also opened her eyes to other exciting markets, such as aerospace, cannabis, healthcare, and telcos.