“Galicia leads research on Covid, although footballers are better known”

“Galicia leads research on Covid, although footballers are better known”

27 may 2020

She is the president of a business cluster supported by health and technology and which is called Ciencias da Vida. To be called like this in times of pandemic is a song of hope because from the laboratories of the firms that nourish Bioga the advanced researcher of Galicia in the race for the vaccine and the treatment for the Covid-19 emerges. Yesterday, in the middle of the de-escalation, Pampín announced in an act with the Xunta the opening of a stage based on internationalizing the sector through the design of a road map whose title says it all: ‘Strategy of Consolidation of Galician Biotechnology 2021-2025’.

The Galician biotechnology sector, grouped around the Clúster Tecnolóxico Empresarial Ciencias da Vida (Bioga), is made up of one hundred companies with a turnover of nearly 400 million euros.

What projects do you carry out in the fight against the pandemic?

The biotechnology sector is positioned as one of the main actors to solve the current health crisis and in Galicia projects and research related to the Covid-19 are being carried out. We can highlight projects to obtain a vaccine against Covid-19, such as the group of María José Alonso for the development of an mRNA vaccine against SARS-COV-2, or the group of Javier Montenegro, financed by the ISCIII and which develops peptide vectors for the transport of genetic material into cells with potential application in future vaccines. Likewise, the business fabric has known how to readapt its business models in the face of this situation in order to respond to the potential challenges that have arisen. One example is the AMSlab group, which is developing virus detection kits and has implemented a service to detect the presence of Covid-19 on all kinds of surfaces and in all kinds of working environments. Another example is the Zendal group, which is investigating whether the vaccine it is developing with the University of Zaragoza against tuberculosis could induce non-specific immunity against Covid-19. They have received funding from ISCIII. In addition, recently, ICM, also a partner of Bioga, has been accredited by ISCIII to perform PCR tests on SARS-CoV-2 and thus becomes the only private laboratory in Galicia to have such accreditation.

What is the place of the Galician biotech sector in Spain?

Taking stock of the previous period, with the Strategy for Boosting Biotechnology 2016-2020, we have met the growth indicators foreseen in relation to the creation of new business initiatives, increased turnover in the sector, as well as in the creation of jobs. Galicia has positioned itself as the third community in Spain that creates more companies year after year and, at this point, we need to continue supporting the business network, working on the consolidation of the sector and positioning it as a reference in biotechnology at the national and international level. Currently, more than a hundred companies are part of the ecosystem, together with universities, technology centres or biomedical foundations, which are home to the enormous research and business talent and contribute to the generation of value and constant growth of the sector.

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