Biotech’s new climate

Biotech is an essential arm of healthcare, but Europe also needs to develop and apply it as a tool to fight climate change and promote sustainability. That was one of the key messages to emerge from the 14th European Biotechnology Congress in Barcelona last week.

One of the largest European projects, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), was the subject of a session in which Ferran Sanz, a biostatistics professor at University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, described eTOX, an IMI project that focuses on the evaluation of drug toxicity through computer models. The eTOX collaboration brings together 23 different EU public and private organisations, of which 5 come from Spain, but is the only IMI project led by Spain. Sanz is himself a director of eTOX.

Discussing the standing of the Spanish biotech sector, Sanz told Science|Business that many Spanish biotech companies have traditionally limited their search for funding and customers to the national market. “The current economic climate, which is particularly serious in Spain, could be an opportunity to transform a problem into a solution,” he believes. “Now is the right time for small biotech companies to look out for opportunities in Europe,” he said.

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