The Basque Government ends the US trip with a session focused on the bio-health sector, an area of smart specialisation in the Basque Country
- During her visit to Grifols San Francisco, which also has offices in Derio, the Minister learnt about how this multinational is working with stakeholders of the Basque country in the research of diseases generated by viruses such as AIDS or Zika.
- The Basque SPRI Group Invest unit is in Boston to set up a network of potential investments to help to strengthen the Basque bio-health ecosystem, with a link to the recent gene therapy project driven by Viralgen in San Sebastián.
The final stretch of the business and institutional trip of the Basque Government’s Minister Arantxa Tapia was focused on the BIO and health field, with a session in Boston, which is home to be the leading ecosystem worldwide in the sector’s research and production.
The institutional delegation had previously held a meeting at the Grifols multinational in San Francisco. The company’s work areas at the Emeryville campus are building on the initial work of Progenika, the Basque biotechnology company set up at the Basque Science and Technology Park and which was subsequent acquired by Grifols in 2013.
The Basque Government considers the BIO and health sector to be one of the priorities in the Smart Specialisation Strategy, along with the Advance Manufacturing and Energy sector.
The Basque Country has a Bio-health ecosystem comprising 150 companies, 20 internationally renowned research centres and universities, 6 hospitals for assistance, research and integration with primary care.
The researchers between San Francisco and the Basque Country are working on how to respond to cases of previously unknown viruses.
The Grifols Division in Emeryville (San Francisco) was the first to sequence the AIDS and Hepatitis C viruses and it is still the largest manufacturer of AIDS and Hepatitis C diagnostic tests worldwide. That is just one of the reasons that it is one of the most highly regarded pharmaceutical multinationals in the research and production of advanced health products.
During the meeting with the Basque delegation at Grifols Sf, the management team and R&D manger stressed the company’s commitment to concentrating resources for research and getting answers to the threat of existing viruses such as Zika, the development of hepatitis, etc.
The Grifols San Francisco unit is continuing with the line of research started in 2000 by Basque company Progenika, which now operates as Progenika Biopharma – Griflos from its premises in Derio where 80 professionals work.
Investment is being attracted to strengthen cell and gene therapy.
The recent focus of Viralgen, the company based in the Gipuzkoa Science and Technology Park, on gene therapy means that the leading European gene therapy centre is based in the Basque Country. Furthermore, the other stakeholders and assets in the health field at the Miramon science technology park make it an international benchmark hub in the BIO and health field.
Minister Arantxa Tapia thus visited three top-tier players in Boston’s bio-health ecosystem, which are also linked to the US Columbus, an investor in the Viralgen project in Donostia-San Sebastián.
The aim was to discover the characteristics and functioning of the Boston ecosystem and contact stakeholders and investors specialised in this field to attract future possible investment and projects to join the Basque ecosystems. The delegation also wished to learn about how this US top player operates.