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07.11.2017 12:44

PTS Can Be Confident About Future, Says Andalusian Finance Minister

Andalusia's Regional Minister of Finance and Knowledge, Antonio Ramírez de Arellano, has said that the Granada Health Science Technological Park (PTS) “can be confident about its medium and long-term future” thanks to an 8.4 million-euro funding boost from the Autonomous Government, which now has the majority stake in the PTS Foundation. According to Mr Ramírez de Arellano, the extra funds “solve all the Park's financial problems”.

Andalusia's Regional Minister of Finance and Knowledge and attendees at the 5th International Life Sciences & Healthcare Technology Summit.

Mr Ramírez de Arellano made these comments at the opening session of the 5th International Life Sciences & Healthcare Technology Summit, held in the PTS last week. The two-day event was attended by representatives from more than 40 companies, 28 from Andalusia and a further 14 from Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the USA, United Arab Emirates, France, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Mexico, Poland and the United Kingdom. The summit is a reverse trade mission that aims to promote the Andalusian biotechnology sector and facilitate networking between companies so that they can explore potential collaboration and business opportunities.

Speaking at the event, Mr Ramírez de Arellano highlighted the strength of the biotech sector in Andalusia, saying that it “is well-established” and “has become a world leader in its field”, with 550 research groups run by public and private organisations, 3,200 people involved in R&D&I activities, and 160 companies, 90% of which are already exporting to international markets.

He also spoke about the competitiveness of the Andalusian biotechnology industry, which is “driven by innovation and international ambitions”, the two cornerstones of the new economic model promoted by the Andalusian Government in which businesses are key players. The Autonomous Government of Andalusia has promoted this strategic area of knowledge through public policies including new infrastructure development, top-level training in universities, and the launch of new financial instruments such as Innovative Public Procurement, a tool to improve service provision for residents.

As Mr Ramírez de Arellano pointed out, Andalusia was the first region in the world to authorise stem cell research, and has led the way in the introduction of advanced therapies in Spain. It was also the first region to successfully ensure a baby was born without a genetic disease to save and improve the life expectancy of his brother. Furthermore, the Genomics and Oncology Research Centre (GENyO), based in the PTS, recently identified the gene expression of three biomarkers that determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. The results of that study will be used to personalise cancer treatments.

Andalusia is home to one of Spain's most important biotechnology clusters, with 104 companies, 33 of which are in Granada. The primary focus of 70% of these companies is biotechnology R&D&I. Together, they employ more than 1,800 highly specialised workers, 47% of whom are women. In 2016, they had a combined turnover of 160 million euros.

Mr Ramírez de Arellano also pointed out that the biotechnology sector has undergone significant growth despite the financial crisis, with increased public and private investment in R&D&I activities, an area involving more than 3,200 specialists and 550 research groups. Between 2008 and 2015, R&D spending in the biotech sector increased by 62.3%, four times more than in Spain as a whole (16.9%).