Having foregrounded its life sciences credentials with the establishment of manufacturing and clinical trials hubs, Spain is hoping to secure its position as a globally relevant industry player. The Iberian nation can boast an advanced healthcare system – which has contributed to a life expectancy rate of around 82.4 years – one of the highest in the world –, the eighth largest pharmaceutical market in the world (valued at USD 26.3 billion in 2020) that continues to grow steadily, and a place in the global Top Ten for clinical trials numbers.
With the health crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in the rear-view mirror, the country’s leadership has selected the health sector as a pillar of its economic future. Drawing on EU recovery funds, Spain is aiming to capitalise on its above-average R&D know-how to foster the development of advanced therapies. However, whether it can outbid European leaders such as Switzerland, Germany, France, and the Nordics is open for debate. The cost-effectiveness that has attracted big-ticket production investments, unfortunately, does not necessarily translate into high-tech operations, especially when Spain lags behind many other major European countries in terms of access to innovative drugs.
Through in-depth interviews with key stakeholders across the Spanish healthcare value chain – including the CEOs of leading local companies, government authorities, heads of pharma MNC affiliates, and representatives from the medtech and biotech industries –, this report weighs up Spain’s prospects as a life sciences investment destination and lifts the lid on a range of topics. These include its local SMEs, including a wealth of innovative biotechs, its increasingly internationally minded mid-caps, how the region of Catalonia has become a world-renowned research hub, the regulatory hurdles facing companies operating in Spain, and the homegrown discoveries that are having a seismic impact on global health.