Barcelona’s reputation for fostering biotechnology businesses is being enhanced, while the city is also experiencing an increase in ‘health tourism’
The growing biotechnology and healthcare sectors in Barcelona are generating significant opportunities for the city’s law firms, says Montserrat Llopart, managing partner of Baker McKenzie in Barcelona.
Llopart adds that, while real estate and tax-related matters are also generating more work, Barcelona’s record for fostering biotechnology businesses is quickly being enhanced. The Catalonia region is seen as a biotech hub – it performs well in rankings of biotechnology companies per capita – and Barcelona is carving out a strong reputation within the life sciences sector. “Barcelona has positioned itself very strongly around work in biotechnology,” says Llopart, highlighting the fact that after some years of investment, companies such as Oryzon [a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company and European leader in the development of epigenetics-based therapeutics] have achieved “interesting volumes of business”.
Consequently, as these companies capitalise on their success, they are incentivising more traditional pharma companies to collaborate or enter associations with them, which has created more work for lawyers, according to Llopart. Added to which, Barcelona lawyers have also observed a significant increase in `health tourism’, that is, people travelling to other countries other than their own to obtain medical treatment. This has led to the businesses in the hospital sector expanding, Llopart says, with some hospitals even opening in the Middle East due to demand. “This has created lots of corporate and M&A work for lawyers,” she adds.
In order to ensure it can cope with such changes in the market, Llopart says Baker McKenzie has created a London-based global innovation committee. “We are looking into new technology to support lawyers in the near future,” she explains.