Confidence in Spanish biotechnology
It is not easy to obtain financing for a biotech company, as it is a sector with long maturity rates and therefore requires long-term investments.
It takes about 10 to 12 years and about $1.2 billion for their product to reach the market. A biotech project will have to go through several phases of testing and approval by the authorities, and can be commercialised if all goes well.
However, investors are realising how well Spanish biotechnology is doing, and last year deals were closed far in excess of those that had been closed before in the sector.
Large international corporations have bet on the sector as a Novartis that invested in Palobiofarma to develop, manufacture and market an immunotherapy against cancer or the agreement signed between the Catalan company Oryzon and Switzerland's Roche to develop and market its drug Ory-1001 for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia.
Biotech funds also conducted large rounds in the sector as an example, Ysios y Lundbeckfond Ventures, Forbion Capital Partners, Gilde HearthcareEdmon de Rothschild Investment Partnerships, Baxter Ventures and La Caixa, invested €36M in Sanifita biopharmaceutical company based in Mallorca, dedicated to the development of SNF472, a drug for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases related to calcification in patients with end-stage renal disease.
Agreements with large corporations
On some occasions, the entry of a large corporation can serve to push the project forward. This is the case of one of the latest operations in the sector, carried out by Grifolswhich invested €3.75M in AlbaJuna Therapeutics, a spin-off of AlbaJuna Therapeutics. IrsiCaixa dedicated to research into therapeutic antibodies against HIV.
More operations have been taking place in recent years: Almirall has entered into the capital of AB-Biotics, the Lara family became part of Plasmia Biotech, the French group Synerlab has acquired Alcalá Farma, and Grifols has been acquiring stakes in companies such as the Spanish-Belgian TiGenix and the US companies Alkahest and Aradigm.
Bottlenecks for Spanish biotechnology
Among the unresolved issues facing Spanish biotechnology are the process of technology transfer from universities to companies, the mortality of start-ups in the toughest years for the sector and the flight of scientists from research centres, which may have led to the loss of more than one opportunity.
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