Spain – Basque Health Ecosystem is ECHAlliance Ecosystem of the Month – April

Spain – Basque Health Ecosystem is ECHAlliance Ecosystem of the Month – April

This month we are featuring our Spain – Basque Health Ecosystem as our Ecosystem of the Month.


What is the approximate stakeholder breakdown of your ecosystem?

The Basque Health Cluster encompasses the entire value chain of the sector, representing entities dedicated to: Pharma and Dermo, Biotechnology, Medical Devices, In Vitro Diagnosis, Healthcare, E-Health and complementary services. Moreover, these more than 120 associated entities include companies, research and Investigation centres and institutes, universities and knowledge centres, assistance centres and public administration. In addition, the cluster operates as a driving force of the ecosystem, promoting networking and collaboration, as well as acting as an intermediary between all the agents that operate in it and between the public and private sectors.

Who are the top 3 champions from your Ecosystem?

It is difficult to mention just three; many of the entities that make up the Basque Health Ecosystem lead technological advances on an international scale that involve global advances that bring and will bring many benefits to the sector and the population at which they are aimed.

Examples of this are leading and pioneering projects such as:

  • Ciber Surgery, developer of the first Basque surgical robot and considered among the “Top 20” robotic SMEs in the European Union.
  • Gogoa Mobility Robots, a leading company in the research, design, development and marketing of exoskeletons.
  • Biobide, leader in zebrafish.
  • VIVEBiotech, specialising in lentiviral vectors.
  • Accexible, which has developed biomarkers that allow the detection of diseases through voice analysis.
  • Mikrobiomik, which in the coming months will launch a revolutionary life-saving treatment for Clostridioides difficile intestinal infection.
  • Innitius, with a device that can differentiate between true and false threats of premature birth.
  • Viralgen, specialising in the production of AAV gene therapy vectors.
  • BTI, specialising in biomedicine applied to regenerative medicine, oral implantology and sleep apnoea.
  • Histocell, specialist in cell therapy and biological medicinal products with its new state-of-the-art production plan, among many others.

Also in the organisational sphere, associated companies such as Biolan Health, Quirón Salud as well as innovation and research entities such as BIOEF, the technology and research centres (Tecnalia, Vicomtech, Tekniker, Cidetec, CICbiogune, etc.) and the associated cooperative research centres stand out.

The level of evolution in all areas covered by the biosciences and health industry in the Basque Country is truly remarkable. Furthermore, taking into account the characterisation of this sector, it is worth highlighting the advances in research, development, technologies and even at an organisational level. More and more interesting projects are being carried out in this ecosystem, both in terms of number, capacity, quality and cooperation.

Likewise, although many projects have been developed in cooperation, the Basque Health Cluster is implementing strategies and actions to further strengthen this collaboration, with the aim of generating various projects and involving more inter- and intra-sectoral agents to generate new synergies and add great value.

What EU funding/collaboration are you involved with, or you would like to be part of?

The Basque Health Cluster and, mainly, its team, have participated in and promoted various R&D projects such as: 

  • OSASUNBERRI: An initiative made up of 27 entities whose objective is to build a close, efficient and comprehensive health sector, based on the km 0 philosophy, and to develop an advanced healthcare system in our community.
  • OSASUNBERRI II: Consortium formed by 35 companies, whose main objective is to increase the degree of independence and healthy life expectancy of the elderly. The aim is to obtain solutions for tackling musculoskeletal problems and solutions for tackling the cognitive part through the technological development of biomarkers for diagnosis and monitoring, and therapeutic solutions in nutrition, pharma-biotech and medical devices.
  • Clinical evaluation and marketing of new-generation medical devices (ClivaMED): ClivaMed project aims to carry out the clinical evaluation and commercialisation of state-of-the-art medical devices for their technological transfer to the market and society, which can have a great impact and high benefits on the health of the general population. 

This is an area that is being strengthened and prioritized now, with more and more projects in which the cluster is entering to participate, both locally, nationally and internationally. This, among others, is one of the objectives for which BHC is becoming part of networks such as ECHAlliance, CEBR, MEDIC-NEST, EIT Health, DTx, etc.

What are the key priorities and themes for your ecosystem?

In our recently launched Strategic Plan 2024-2027, we have established 6 main strategic pillars: 1) talent, 2) data, encompassing both the samples and the data strategy itself, covering lines such as the new European data space, the application of AI and Big Data, etc., 3) regulation, so important in our sector, 4) internationalisation, both in terms of markets and R&D, 5) financing and 6) commercialization. All of them interlinked. As you can see, our new strategic plan is focused on providing added value of great impact to the sector.

We are also working on the “Osasun Poloa” strategy, an international health reference hub, which will be materialized in a building to be opened in 2025.

What is your primary strength as an ecosystem?

Our main strength is that we are able to connect different stakeholders from different regions, countries and value chain actors. We have contacts in diverse administrations, international networks, quintuple helix stakeholders, among others.

In addition to this, the Basque Health ecosystem stands out for having, among others, the strategic commitment of the Public Administration, the biosciences and health sector being one of the three RIS3 priorities, a solid public health system, 6 leading private hospitals with 45,000 employees, 4 Health Research institutes, more than 20 research centres with more than 2,500 people dedicated to R&D, an R&D expenditure focused on biotechnology that represents 10% of total national R&D expenditure, biotechnology companies of which 60% are less than 10 years old and of which 90% are internationalised, more than 240 companies in the sector and also the Basque Health Cluster as a center of dynamisation and traction of this ecosystem.

Last but not least, we would like to highpoint that the Basque Country has been identified as one of the main hubs for advanced therapies in Europe, with many leading companies working in this field (Histocell, Viralgen, ViveBioetch, Syngoi, Quatre Lab, Taav, AskBio, Litek Pharma, Tecbiocel, etc.).

Which are the main hospitals in your ecosystem and which are the most active in your ecosystems?

The Basque health system has always been a benchmark, not only nationally but also internationally. Currently, we have 6 leading private hospitals, the public health system, Osakidetza, as well as the Basque Foundation for Health Innovation and Research BIOEF, all of them very active and participatory in the ecosystem. These are: 


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