AstraZeneca to set up a hub in Barcelona and create 100 jobs

PepsiCo, Microsoft, Nestlé and Zurich already have similar hubs in the city

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Headquarters of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneda, Cambridge

BarcelonaBarcelona has become a magnet for international companies' hubs. The latest to announce that it will establish its new development centre in the Catalan capital is pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The hub will focus on accelerating the development of next-generation drugs in the field of rare diseases. The project will create up to 100 specialised R&D jobs over the next two years and has the support of ACCIÓ, the Catalan government's agency for business competitiveness.

The new hub will be promoted through Alexion, a group company specialising precisely in rare diseases, based in Boston (Massachusetts) and which was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2021. According to the pharmaceutical company, of the nearly 7,000 rare diseases currently identified, around 95% have no treatment. The company's goal is to set up "one of the main centres for clinical excellence and innovation for this kind of diseases in Europe," according to the new development hub's vicepresident, Gonzalo de Miquel, "Barcelona is becoming one of the most vibrant cities in Europe in the healthcare sector, which is why it is an ideal location for this centre to explore and develop new life-changing therapeutic options for patients suffering from rare diseases".

Catalan Enterprise and Employment minister Roger Torrent also expressed his satisfaction at the development: "It is a project that will be a boost for the entire life and health sciences sector in Catalonia, which already represents 8.7% of GDP and has established itself as one of the major drivers for the economy as a whole". Torrent concluded that high value-added investments such as AstraZeneca's have a great impact in terms of the creation of qualified jobs and scientific and social progress.

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has become well-known in the past two years for being one of the first to develop a vaccine against covid. Headquartered in Cambridge (UK), it operates in over 100 countries and seeks to innovate, developing drugs in different areas.

Attracted to Barcelona

In recent months, several companies have announced new hubs in Barcelona. Among the two most recent are multinationals PepsiCo y Microsoft. The former was focused on the application of new technologies to the group's current challenges. At the moment it has started with a staff of 80 workers, but it intends to grow and approach 500 by 2024. As for Microsoft, it has an artificial intelligence centre to develop solutions to improve online experience. However, the path that AstraZeneca has now announced and which PepsiCo and Microsoft are following has already been taken by other multinationals such as Nestlé and Zurich with the inauguration of their hubs in Barcelona in 2016.