Barcelona: A Leading Hub in the Life Sciences Sector

life science

Barcelona has rapidly evolved into a major hub for the Life Sciences sector, attracting international companies with its world-class infrastructure, thriving research ecosystem, and commitment to innovation. This vibrant city offers a unique combination of factors that make it an ideal location for businesses of all sizes to establish themselves and flourish. Barcelona is now recognised globally as a key player in the Life Sciences industry.   


Infrastructure and Research Excellence  

At the heart of Barcelona’s success in the Life Sciences sector is its exceptional infrastructure. With 91 research centres, the city is home to some of the world’s leading hospitals and research centres, such as Hospital Clínic, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB). These institutions are instrumental in driving scientific research and medical advancements, making Barcelona a hotspot for cutting-edge developments in healthcare and biotechnology.  

Barcelona is a leading force in genomics and structural biology, excelling in areas such as medical chemistry, nanomedicine, omics sciences, bioinformatics and big data. The city is also renowned for oncology and immunotherapy, neurosciences, global health, veterinary, genomics and epigenetics, nanotechnology, bioengineering, photonics, and medical chemistry. 

  • Barcelona region ranks 5th in Europe and 8th in the world in number of clinical trials. 


A Magnet for Talent and Investment  

One of Barcelona’s most attractive features for the Life Sciences sector is its ability to attract talent from around the world. The city’s high quality of life, characterised by its beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and rich cultural heritage, makes it an appealing destination for professionals.  

  • Over 25,000 annual university graduates in scientific fields (bachelor’s degrees, Masters and PhDs) 
  • 3rd in number of publications on advanced therapies in EU 
  • 2nd best place in Europe to invest in biotech according to the CPHI Annual Report 


Moreover, Barcelona’s universities, including the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University, offer top-tier education and training in Life Sciences. These institutions not only produce highly skilled professionals but also contribute to the city’s extensive scientific output. 

  • Barcelona is one of the leading regions for research both at the and global level, ranking as the fifth city in scientific production in the European Union and 20th worldwide in 2022. 


Business network 

The Life Sciences sector in Barcelona encompasses over 1,750 companies, of which 550 are startups and scaleups. They generate over €23.7 billion in revenue (2022) and employ nearly 70,000 people.  

The sector includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and biomedical companies. This diversity has made the city a magnet for investment, with numerous international companies setting up operations here. Foreign companies account for 25% of the total turnover, underscoring Barcelona’s importance as an international hub. 


Groundbreaking New Projects 

The growing importance of the Life Sciences sector in Barcelona has also caught the attention of the real estate industry. Barcelona is home to a number of ongoing projects that will enhance the city’s medical and scientific capacity and provide space for Life Sciences companies to set themselves up, raising the profile of the city and opening up new investment opportunities. 

  • Innovation and Health BioCluster (Bellvitge area) 

The BioCluster project aims to completely transform the area, which extends more than one million sqm. The goal is to create a leading R&D Life Sciences hub that will benefit from access to a world-class hospital with close to 1,000 beds, the Catalan Oncology Institute and its proximity to the University of Barcelona’s Bellvitge Life Sciences Campus which houses the medical and nursing faculties. 

    • 556,000 sqm 
    • 50,000 new jobs 
    • €7 billion in annual revenue 
  • Science Park Area (Hospital Clínic Extension) 

Barcelona’s Science Park is one of Europe’s model ecosystems for research, technology transfer and innovation, and the most important Life Sciences hub in Spain. The Hospital Clínic will have a built area of more than 290,000 sqm and more than 3,000 employees working mainly in the health sector. 

    •  390,000 sqm 
    • 290.000 sqm. Hospital Clínic 
    • 60.000 sqm. BaSid 
    • 15.000 sqm. Sant Joan de Déu 
    • 15.000 sqm. Campus Esplugues 
    • 10.000 sqm. Parc Científic
  • Ciutadella Knowledge Hub
(Mercat del Peix extension) 

The Mercat del Peix extension project will see the development of a new 45,000 sqm research and innovation centre comprising three buildings dedicated to biomedicine, biodiversity and planetary welfare. The project will be located on the site once occupied by the market and next to the Universitat Pompeu Fabra’s Ciutadella campus.  

    • 45,000 sqm 
    • 3 buildings dedicated to biomedicine, biodiversity and the well-being of the planet 
  • CaixaResearch Institute 

It will be Spain’s first research centre specialized in immunology and one of the first in Europe. The CaixaResearch Institute will focus on examining the interactions of the immune system prevalent pathologies, including neurological, oncological and infectious diseases, while also analysing associated environmental factors. 

    • 19,000 sqm 
    • +300 researchers 

Barcelona rises as a leading hub in the Life Sciences sector thanks to its strategic investments in infrastructure, education, and innovation. The city’s ability to attract talent and investment, combined with its robust research capabilities, makes it a key player in this dynamic field. As Barcelona continues to grow and evolve, it is poised to remain at the forefront of global advancements in Life Sciences, offering unparalleled opportunities for businesses, researchers, and investors alike.  

By showcasing its vibrant Life Sciences ecosystem, we aim to attract more attention and investment to this thriving sector, further cementing the city’s position as a global leader in healthcare and biotechnology.   

Ready to join the Barcelona Life Sciences revolution? Contact us today and explore the exciting possibilities that await you in this dynamic city. 

Download the report brochure here