20 years of BIOSPAIN – The evolution of an international biotech event


This year marks the 20th anniversary of BIOSPAIN, an international meeting showcasing new developments in biotech and also a benchmark partnering event. From September 26-28, 2023, BIOSPAIN will return to Barcelona, where it first started.

Organized by AseBio, the Spanish Bioindustry Association, and Biocat, a public-private foundation promoting Catalonia’s life sciences and healthcare ecosystem, BIOSPAIN 2023 will present recent developments in healthcare, food biotechnology, and agriculture, addressing the most pressing societal needs.

The healthcare section will cover advanced, personalized therapies, address possible solutions for antimicrobial resistance, and discuss the future of healthcare in an aging population.

The ‘green side’ of the meeting will present the role of food and agriculture biotech in response to climate change. Recent developments of more resistant and sustainable crops, new protein sources, and alternatives to fossil fuels will be discussed, always with the ‘green transition’ in mind.

The evolution of BIOSPAIN

The first edition of BIOSPAIN took place in 2003 as a national meeting for the biotech sector. Starting with only 300 attendees, the numbers have increased year after year.

2008 marked a turning point, when the meeting was held internationally for the first time. In addition, the event offered partnering options for the international public to facilitate contact between biotech companies and global companies and investors. With this new impulse, BIOSPAIN continued to grow until it became what it is today, one of Europe’s benchmark biotech events with more than 2,000 attendees.

“Over the past two decades, Spain has emerged as a growing hub for biotechnology, with nearly 900 biotech companies operating in the country, alongside a growing number of investment funds specifically focused on our industry,” said Ion Arocena, CEO at AseBio.

Why attend?

How do you measure the success of a biotech event, and determine if it is worthwhile attending? There are no dedicated statistics, but AseBio has collected lots of positive feedback from its members over the years.

“We have learned that BIOSPAIN was the kick-off for some of the leading licensing, collaboration, or marketing agreements Spanish biotech companies have established with international big pharma companies or investors.

Consider that more than 3,500 meetings were scheduled through the partnering system, plus many others that happen spontaneously at a booth, after a conference session, or during a social event.

These details are never disclosed in the press releases. Still, there are many examples we are aware of, and for sure, many others we have not been able to track back to a specific edition of Biospain when the first or decisive meeting took place,” Arocena explained.


Personal meetings, well prepared

While BIOSPAIN 2021 was held in a hybrid format, this year’s edition will return to be a pure on-site event to facilitate face-to-face interactions and networking.

“In investment discussions, you need to build confidence, which is a lot easier when you meet in person and can explain your ideas and innovations face-to-face,” Arocena emphasized.

To help biotechs and investors prepare for the meeting, AseBio released a free comprehensive data package on private investment in Spanish biotech at a breakfast press meeting in April.

Back to Catalonian roots

It is not only of symbolic nature that the anniversary edition of BIOSPAIN will take place in Barcelona, returning to where it first started. As Barcelona is the second-largest biotech location in Spain (after Madrid), many private funds are located in the city and the region of Catalonia.

“The choice of Barcelona as a host for the next BIOSPAIN confirms the city’s strategic position as one of Europe’s main cities on the life sciences and healthcare map. Catalonia and Barcelona lead in the number of scientific publications and clinical trials, host top-notch research centers and hospitals, and have the capacity to transfer knowledge to the market: the life sciences and healthcare sector now makes up 9% of the Catalan GDP and 16% of all startups,” said Albert Castellanos, secretary of Enterprise and Competitiveness and CEO at ACCIÓ, a sponsor of the event.

“This is also reflected in recent announcements, such as AstraZeneca opening an R&D hub in Barcelona with 1,000 employees. There is no question that Catalonia is one of the great epicenters where the health of tomorrow is and will continue to be created.” 


Welcome to BIOSPAIN 2023!

In its 20th year, BIOSPAIN will be a larger-than-ever on-site event, promoting international relationships between biotech companies and investors and bringing ideas from bench to market.

“The Spanish biotech ecosystem has grown at an accelerated pace these past years, consolidating itself as a leading hub in Europe, with top research, science, technology, entrepreneurship, and talent. BIOSPAIN 2023 will be an excellent opportunity to see the latest biotech industry advancements and meet and reconnect with entrepreneurs, scientists, venture capitalists, and other stakeholders. See you all in Barcelona in September!” said Clara Campás, CEO and co-founder of Asabys Partners, also an event sponsor.

Find out more about BIOSPAIN 2023 and how to attend.

Images courtesy: AseBio

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