It is the country with the highest percentage of scientific articles in this field published in prestigious journals (83.3%), according to the latest report of the Spanish Association of Biotechnology Companies
The field of biotechnology continues to progress in leaps and bounds in Spain. This is shown by the latest report ‘AseBio 2019: Ready for the Spain of Tomorrow’ from the Spanish Association of Biotechnology Companies. The document reflects the growth of the biotechnology sector in terms of investment, financing, talent and diversity, business, environmental trends and collaborative results in the last year, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the areas where Spain stands out internationally is in the production of scientific articles in the field of biotechnology: we are in 9th position, with 10,935 scientific biotechnology documents published between 2008 and 2018, according to data of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) collected by AseBio. In total, more than 834,230 scientific documents from all fields have been published in Spain during this period, a figure that also places us in the top 10 of global scientific production.
In addition to its stead fast position in the number of biotechnology documents, Spain is the country with the highest percentage of scientific articles in biotechnology published in prestigious journals. Specifically, it reached 83.3%, followed by the USA (81.5%), France (80.8%), and the United Kingdom (80.7%).
The AseBio study also highlights the percentage of international collaboration in Spanish scientific production in biotechnology, which continued to grow between 2008 and 2018. Specifically, the percentage of documents in this scientific field signed by Spanish and foreign institutions went from 38% to 58%, with almost 630 documents -a percentage above the average for science in general in Spain.
In global terms, Spanish biotechnology represents 2.8% of world production and is cited as 30% more than the world average in this area. The protection of Spanish biotech innovations in the world comes mainly from the European Patent Office (42%) and through PCT patents (32%). The 35 Spanish biotechnology companies associated with AseBio are also present in 43 markets worldwide.
Investment in R&D, financing and biotechnology talent continues to grow
The AseBio 2019 report, which is considered to be a benchmark publication in the Spanish biotechnology sector since 2003, also includes progress in the rest of the key areas of biotechnology.
As in R&D investment. During 2018, the biotechnology sector invested some 770 million euros in innovation and development, 71% of which came from biotech companies. A figure that places this industry as one of the highest investors in R&D, for the first time ahead of the pharmaceutical sector. Biotech companies, in particular, increased their investment by 13%. As for the destination of this investment, 43% of biotech companies dedicated these funds to staff salaries in R&D activities.
All of these areas have been influenced by improved financing, thanks to an improvement in its main instruments: private capital increases and venture capital. The report points out that in 2019 there was a new record in both the number of operations (23) and the volume of resources raised (103 million euros) by companies in the sector through private capital increases. Venture capital investment, for its part, increased by 74 million euros in 2019. In addition, crowdfunding has become a consolidated financing tool, reaching 10 million euros.
The biotechnology sector has also improved in terms of talent and diversity, with more researchers being recruited including a higher percentage of female staff. The number of students enrolled in university studies in biotechnology has also increased, reaching around 7,000 students, 60% of whom are women. In terms of staff women make up an important percentage of the sector: almost 60% of biotech employees are women, a figure only exceeded by the health, social services and pharmacy sectors.
Until the arrival of Covid-19, the data was also positive in the creation of biotechnology companies. During 2018 the number of companies dedicated to biotechnology activities recovered slightly, with 2,969 in total (751 biotech). Catalonia, Madrid, Andalusia, and the Basque Country have the highest concentration of these type of companies.