Spanish fair surpasses expectations
Granada – “We’ve broken all records.” This was Jose Luis Jarcano’s (Genoma Espana) conclusion after the end of the 4th BioSpain in Granada, Spain’s 3rd largest biotech cluster. “BioSpain 2008 has attracted more exhibitors, professionals and international delegates than any of its predecessors,” said Jose Maria Fernendez, President of the co-organising Spanish Association of Bioenterprises (ASEBIO). “The numbers demonstrate that the sector is in good health.”
The three-day event surpassed the BioSpain 2006 held in Madrid. Many of the 162 exhibitors spoke of a “tremendous leap in quality”, because practically the entire domestic sector took part. A high-ranking scientific congress entitled “Biotech 2008”, organised by Spanish biotech society SEBIOT, spanned a wide spectrum of issues: from biochemical engineering to agri-food, industrial biotech to microbial genomics, biocatalysis to bioinformatics. A partnerning forum organised by the EBD group counted 1,000 face-to-face meetings. In addition, 5 out of the 28 biotechs presenting to international investors were rewarded at the end of BioSpain’s finance forum: SpinX (Switzerland), CelleriX (Spain), Alfama (Portugal), Amsterdam Molecular Therapies (Netherlands, and Sinali Seafields (US). A further highlight was a plenary lecture by Steven Burrill, head of an international investor group, who underlined that biotech as a enabling technology will penetrate medicine and many areas of daily life by 2020.
“Biotechnology in Spain is currently growing at a rate of more than 25% per year” in terms of sales and exports, employment and attraction of investments, said Science and Innovation Minister Cristina Garmendia at BioSpain’s inauguration. “This is much higher than average rates in the US and the rest of Europe.” Garmendia, a former president at Genetrix, also underlined the importance of internationalisation, which she said would be paid back in exports, alliances and foreign investment.