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The Spanish Biotech Sector Breaks Records for Financing and Investment in R&D

96% of the biotech companies are SMEs or micro-SMEs, contributing minimally to the Spanish biotech sector revenues. Large firms, though only 4.1%, account for 37.9% of revenues. Recent private financing surged 37% to €228 million, supporting growth. Notable investments include Universal Diagnostics (€51M) and Arthex Biotech (€45M). R&D investment in biotech reached €1.218 billion.



spanish biotech sector

The Spanish biotech sector continues to grow and consolidate. In our country, there are already 4,477 companies that carry out biotechnological activities, of which 974 are pure biotech; that is, these activities are not secondary or tools for their main work, according to data from the ‘AseBio 2023 Report.’

If we focus on them, more than half (52%) are directed at human health, ahead of those focused on food (32%) and agriculture and forestry production (19%). The rest is divided between those dedicated to the environment, animal health or aquaculture and industry.

However, these companies still lack a large scale. In fact, 96% of biotech companies in Spain are SMEs or micro-SMEs. The latter represent almost half of the census (49%), but barely contribute 1.7% of the overall turnover of the Spanish biotech sector, with an average income of 600,000 euros.

In contrast, large companies (with more than 250 employees), which represent 4.1% of biotech companies, account for 37.9% of the sector’s total revenues . Their average turnover is 20.2 million euros.

Record funding in the Spanish biotech sector

The problem for many of these small companies is that they lack the necessary resources to consolidate and grow, so access to financing is essential for the Spanish biotech sector to take a step forward.

In this regard, we have good news. According to the AseBio report, the private financing raised by the sector amounted to 228 million euros last year, which represents an increase of 37% compared to 2022.

There were 42 financing transactions, in line with the figures recorded in the previous three years, with an average volume of 5.4 million euros in each of them.

It should be noted that in 2023, 5 rounds of financing were carried out that exceeded 10 million euros , compared to the 3 that occurred in 2022, the 5 that occurred in 2021 and the 4 that we saw in 2020.

The largest investment in the Spanish biotech sector was led by Universal Diagnostics, which raised 51 million euros in a round together with Quest Diagnostics and an alternative investment fund managed by Adepa and CDTI Innvierte.

Arthex Biotech raised €45 million in a round led by Columbus Venture Partners and in which other investors Invivo Capital, AdBio Partners, Hadean Ventures and Sound Bioventures also participated. In addition, the operation was supported by the CDTI Innvierte instrument and by the EIC Fund, the investment arm of the European Innovation Council of the European Commission, focused on startups.

DeepULL raised €17 million with Asabys as the sole investor. And Cocoon Biosciences raised €15 million in a round in which it had the support of Columbus Venture Partners, Cleon Capital, Viscofan, North South Ventures, Sangha Capital and SPRI.

Finally, Nuage Therapetics obtained 12 million euros in a round in which Asabys, Sofinnova Partners, CDTI Innvierte and BStartup participated.

On the other hand, the AseBio study highlights that this year we have seen new players in the financing of Spanish biotech sector. This refers to the two loan operations of 450,000 euros from the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) to the companies Onechain Immunotherapeutics and Oniria Therapeutics, through its AECC IMPACTO program.

International investors in teh Spanish biotech sector

AseBio particularly emphasises that the investment volume raised in capital increase operations with the participation of international investors was close to 150 million euros.

He also stressed that the largest operations are those with the participation of international investors. This year, 10 companies have received support from investors from countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Italy.

Firm commitment to innovation

The report also highlights the innovative nature of biotechnology companies. According to its data, biotech companies and companies that have biotechnology as a secondary activity or that use it as a production tool invested 1.22 billion euros in R&D.

This investment has increased by 180 million euros compared to the figures for 2021. And of this amount, 60% is attributable to pure biotech companies (111 million ). Thus, these companies executed nearly 62% of the total R&D investment in the sector, exceeding 750 million.

Furthermore, it should be noted that investment in R&D in the entire Spanish biotech sector represents 6.3% of total national investment in R&D , only surpassed by R&D services and the automotive, pharmaceutical and education sectors.


(Featured image by Jakub Żerdzicki 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.