by Gemma Escarré,
A delegation of eight Catalan companies from the biomedicine and health arena, most CataloniaBio & HealthTech members, participated in a business mission to Toronto (Canada) from 9 to 13 April to scout for new clients, partners and investors in one of the most advanced ecosystems in the world.
The mission —organised by ACCIÓ in collaboration with the Canadian consulate in Barcelona, Biocat and the Canadian ToHealth cluster— featured Adan Medical Innovation, Ahead Therapeutics, Althaia, INTERmedic, Inveready, Laboratorios Rubió, Mind the Byte and Reig Jofre.
The business mission coincided with Toronto Health Innovation Week (THIW), which offered more than 30 activities and attracted 3,500 participants to debate the future of technology in the health sector.
One of the THIW conferences was Building bridges Canada-Catalonia in healthcare, with Dr Alfons Nonell-Canals, Mind the Byte CEO and member of the CataloniaBio & HealthTech board. He discussed the potential of this association, which currently has more than 150 members, including biopharmaceutical companies, medical technology and digital health firms, science and non-science service organisations and knowledge generators. Nonell-Canals highlighted that Catalan companies closed 42 licensing deals in 2016, which will bring in €250 million in revenue over the next 5 years, according to the Study on investment in the Biomedical industry in Catalonia 2017. At the same conference, Sara Secall, a partner at Inveready, explained her success story with investors from Canadian company Edesa Biotech (€5.8-million round of funding).
On behalf of the key organisations in Toronto, Yung Wu, CEO of the MaRS innovation hub, presented this city’s strengths in the life sciences, such as experience with stem cells, a network of world-class hospitals and a global sector valued at $5.2 trillion.
Another session focused on Women impacting health featuring figures such as Molly Shoichet, the first female Chief Scientist for the Province of Ontario, and Michelle Holland, Chief Advocate for Innovation Economy for the City of Toronto.
Canada has more biotechnology companies than all but one country in the world, most focusing on human health.
More information (in Catalan)