by Gemma Escarré,
Interview to Jaume Amat, president of CataloniaBio & HealthTech since 2018 and CEO of Specipig:
It has been one year since the merger of CataloniaBio and the HealthTech Cluster. How would the board take stock of the past year?
When we started this new era, we believed that the merger addressed a trend and a real need in the sector resulting from the transversal nature of new healthcare solutions. One year later, we’re more sure of this than ever. As an association, we are much more diverse and, therefore, much richer and with more complimentary assets. We can be proud.
How do you see the healthcare and biomedicine ecosystem in Catalonia?
We’ve made it a driving force for the country’s economy, making up 7.2% of the GDP, and the Government of Catalonia now sees it as a strategic sector. The healthcare and biomedicine ecosystem is rich, with a diversity of stakeholders involved that contribute knowledge, innovation and experience. CataloniaBio & HealthTech represents a very significant part of this sector.
What role does CataloniaBio & HealthTech play in this ecosystem?
We have a privileged view of the sector because, as an association, we bring together the whole valorisation cycle: knowledge generators (universities, research centres and hospitals); start-ups, SMEs and large corporations developing products; the whole network of companies offering science and non-science services; and the users.
Our role is to seek out synergies with the various stakeholders and act strategically to bring the vision and needs of companies to the global actions and initiatives being proposed.
What goals would CataloniaBio & HealthTech like to achieve?
Our proposal is based on taking advantage of this privileged 360° view and sharing it with the ecosystem to strengthen three strategic focal points (innovation, entrepreneurship and networking) that will allow us to advance development of innovative, transformative solutions to consolidate Catalonia as an international hub for research, healthcare and business.
We believe in innovation as something that sets us apart, entrepreneurship as a driving force for change, and networking as a framework for work and influence.
We have the opportunity and the responsibility to lead innovation in the Catalan ecosystem, boosting companies’ competitiveness and growth.
What is the action plan for 2019?
At the general assembly of members we held in February, the board presented the action plan for this year, which includes the specific goals of encouraging synergies among stakeholders in the ecosystem to accelerate innovation projects and positioning CataloniaBio & HealthTech as the benchmark business interlocutor.
To do so, we’ve kicked off 15 initiatives and activities in which the Innovation, Regulatory Affairs and Internationalisation Workgroups play a significant role: the Innovation Meetings, Hospital Connection conferences and intercluster events, in the innovation focal point; the CataloniaBio & HealthTech Gala Dinner, Health & Bio Team Dating to promote science-business teams, the CEO Councils and the Investment Study, for the entrepreneurship focal point; and the UnConference debate and dialogue session, the Lessons Learned series to share successes and failures, Hard Reg Café on regulatory affairs and the BBQ, in the networking focal point, among others.
In addition to the association’s initiatives and activities, we’re always interested in participating and collaborating on other proposals in the sector and, in particular, with Biocat and ACCIÓ, as they are key stakeholders and we have a close relationship with them.