Biotechnology in Catalonia; Industry Analysis

31 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2009

See all articles by Núria Mas

Núria Mas

University of Navarra - IESE Business School

Date Written: July 6, 2009


Biotechnology is considered one of the key engines to achieving long-term sustainable growth. Catalonia is the main player in the Spanish biotechnology market, boasting 35 percent of the Spanish biotech R&D and 24 percent of its firms. In this report, we analyze the state of the Catalan biotechnology sector, focusing on its competitive advantages and disadvantages relative to other European biotech clusters. Our findings indicate that, in Catalonia, the biotechnology sector has the potential to affect sectors that represent 10 percent of the Catalan GDP and that employ 9.3 percent of the Catalan workforce. However, Catalan biotech is still quite small in relation to the top European bioclusters and it is only slowly catching up in some of its strategic components. The main advantages of the Catalan biotechnology sector are, first, its research effort, which has been improving steadily, thus allowing Catalonia to start closing the gap with Europe, especially in industrial biotechnology. Second, the attractiveness of Barcelona to draw key staff. The main challenge it faces is access to funding and the fact that the size of related industries in the area is smaller than their size in the top European biotech regions. Finally, 65 percent of Catalan biotechnology firms are devoted to the health sector, while the performance of biotech research in the industrial sector has been particularly competitive.

Keywords: biotechnology, clusters, sector, Catalonia

Suggested Citation

Mas, Núria, Biotechnology in Catalonia; Industry Analysis (July 6, 2009). IESE Business School Working Paper No. 805, Available at SSRN: or

Núria Mas (Contact Author)

University of Navarra - IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034

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