The healthcare, medtech and e-health industry
in the Basque Country

Picto Medtech & e-health

Fort du développement de la filière santé et cosmétique, le Pays Basque est devenu un bassin de compétences reconnu en France et à l’international. Depuis quelques années, les entreprises et les investisseurs ont bien compris que notre territoire possède les atouts nécessaires au développement de cette filière. Quand les marques ont des cibles ou des besoins communs et qu’elles sont réunies sur un petit territoire, elles bénéficient d’un atout important : la facilité à créer des synergies pour le développement et l’innovation.

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The cosmetic industry

The health and wellbeing industry is well established in the Basque Country. Ethical cosmetics brands, manufacturers and distributors of medical equipment, digital/e-health companies, and private and public health establishments are among the Basque Country’s biggest employers. There is truly a wealth of expertise and talent to be discovered here, representing real added value for our region.

Some of France’s leading brands in the cosmetics industry have chosen the Basque Country to set up their businesses and research and development laboratories. More than just an attractive location, the region is also a strong inspiration for the cosmetics industry, which is increasingly focused on a blue economy and limiting its environmental impact.

This is the case of Laboratoires de Biarritz (established by BASQUE INVEST) which, when it was founded in 2010, wanted to develop sun creams that respected the ocean and marine life. Today, Laboratoires de Biarritz is working on sun creams derived from the red algae found on our coasts – Gelidium sesquipedale – and exports its products worldwide. They also offer certified organic cosmetics for the whole family, combining expertise, respect for the environment and manufacturing in France.

Other brands have launched more recently in the BAB region (Bayonne, Anglet, Biarritz), such as Alaena Cosmétiques, a range of French cosmetics combining natural ingredients and medical expertise. Alaena Cosmétiques is a family-run business, with a focus on healthy, organic ingredients. After 2 years of research and development in their French laboratory, Alaena Cosmétiques has developed and patented an active ingredient based on organic sprouted seeds (chia, flax, oats, wheat, green soya, buckwheat and amaranth), which can be found in all their products.

The medical devices and medtechs industry

The Basque Country is also an attractive location for brands from the medical device and medtech industries. Whether manufacturers or distributors, a number of world-renowned brands have chosen to locate here, including Technoflex, B. Braun and DJO Global.

Technoflex is one of the biggest private employers in the Basque Country with a team of 284 people. Based in Bidart, it has been designing and producing medical devices and flexible pouches for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries for over 40 years. A European leader, the company generates sales of around 37 million euros, 90% of which are exported (including 50% to the United States), and is growing thanks to innovative patented devices. In 2018, the company received the Prix d’Excellence Pharma in the Packaging category at the CPhI Awards in 2018, for its innovative Dual-Mix® pouch.  The company is looking to expand its Basque factory, and “recruit 40 to 50 people within five years” according to CEO Olivier Chesnoy (L’Usine Nouvelle).

Braun, a German group and one of the world’s leading suppliers of medical products and services, has chosen Saint-Jean-de-Luz as the location for its industrial site specializing in the manufacture of collection bags for enterostomy, postoperative drainage and urostomy. B. Braun is France’s leading medical technology employer, with 7 French production sites. The Saint-Jean-de-Luz site handles R&D, production and regulatory affairs on a global scale.

Finally, DJO Global, an American company specializing in the manufacture and distribution of orthopedic and vascular rehabilitation and recovery products, has chosen to locate its French headquarters in Mouguerre. With sales of 115 million euros in 2020, the group has established itself as a major economic player in the Basque Country’s healthcare industry.


The medtech sector in the Basque Country is also booming, benefiting from a dynamic and innovative ecosystem. There are numerous companies and startups specializing in medical devices and healthcare technologies: Laboratoires Renaudin in Itxassou, Laboratoire Bioluz in Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Technoflex in Bidart are all committed to developing this market in the region.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), medtech is “the application of knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of life”. Medtech companies develop medical devices such as prostheses, implants, diagnostic devices, medical equipment and more.

In France, the medtech market is estimated at 28 billion euros in sales (BPI France), with over 1300 companies working in the sector. In the Basque Country, we are fortunate to benefit from state-of-the-art infrastructures and geographical proximity to innovative clusters such as the Basque Government’s health cluster and the Navarre cluster.

The digital health industry

The term digital health (or e-health) refers to all areas in which information and communication technologies (ICT) are used to improve health. Digital health is increasingly seen as a relevant solution to the challenges facing healthcare systems, such as changing medical demographics, territorial inequalities in access to care, rising prevalence of chronic diseases, an aging population and dependency care.

Across all sectors – health, medical and social – the development of digital healthcare in terms of working, technical and safety conditions is governed by public action.

81% of doctors are convinced of the benefits of e-health in terms of quality of care. Digital technology is now at the heart of innovation.

In the medical sector, e-health is helping to advance clinical research and improve patient care and support. There is also talk of creating highly-specific evaluation systems to guide decision-makers and users in their choice of software solutions. Examples include software solely for healthcare homes and centers or connected objects.

Des entreprises implantées au Pays Basque surfent sur la vague de l’e-santé :

Companies based in the Basque Country that are riding the e-health wave include:

  • iRemplace – a platform that puts caregivers in touch with healthcare establishments, for the recruitment of healthcare professionals. A well-developed mobile application, the company is based in Mouguerre. The company has already responded to and won several calls for tender issued by local hospital groups. The company is currently pursuing its acquisition drive to expand its database of professionals.
  • Sophia Genetics – A global start-up supported by BASQUE INVEST and set up in the Basque Country in April 2018 that has become the world leader in data-driven medicine. This Swiss start-up, co-founded by Basque Jurgi Camblong, helps improve patient diagnosi It was listed in 2017 by MIT Tech Review as one of the 50 smartest companies, and ranked among the world’s 10 most innovative biotechs by US magazine Fast Company. The start-up had 20 employees in 2014; by the end of 2018, there were more than 200 working at its various sites. Today, in 2024, there are more than 450 employees, including 60 based in Bidart, housed in new Basque premises located next to the ESTIA engineering school. Sophia Genetics has an ambitious development policy, with substantial fund-raising ($77 million in 2019, $110 million in 2020) and steadily rising sales, from €11.219 million in 2022 to €57.41 million in 2023 ($62.4 million), a jump of 31%.


Key data on the health industry in the basque country

  • The healthcare and medtech industry in the Basque Country represents a major activity in terms of sales and employment. It generates annual sales of around 1.2 billion euros (almost 7% of the GDP of the Pyrénées Atlantiques region), making it one of the region’s key sectors of excellence. The majority of these sales are generated by healthcare establishments (38%), and liberal professions (25%).

    According to several studies and sources*, the healthcare sector employed a total of 23,000 people in 2021, representing 18% of jobs in the Basque Country. In terms of distribution, healthcare establishments, social medical establishments and related professions account for 85% of jobs in the healthcare industry (14,227 jobs). 

    These include Bayonne Hospital, which alone employs 4,000 people, the Ramsay Santé group (Clinique Aguilera and Clinique Belharra in Bayonne), the Polyclinique Côte Basque Sud in Saint-Jean-De-Luz and Laboratoire Renaudin in Itxassou, all of which are among the 20 largest private employers in the Basque Country (in 2021). The remaining 2,518 jobs belong to healthcare suppliers, split between industry, distribution and support services.

    In the Basque Country, an estimated 1 in 5 women work in the healthcare sector.

    Finally, it should be noted that in the Pyrénées Atlantiques region, 60% of healthcare workers are in the public sector, and 40% in the private sector.  

    * Sources: CCI (Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie) de Bayonne ; Data Eko Communauté d’Agglomération Pays Basque – ARS – Contrat Local de Santé – Diagnostic territorial

The advantages of setting up a company in the healthcare medtech-medical devices industries in the basque country

Setting up a company in the healthcare industry in the Basque Country offers a number of clear advantages. First of all, major French and world-renowned healthcare industry groups have been established in the Basque Country for several years now, demonstrating the economic dynamism of this sector and the significant synergies that can be built.

Over the years, a number of clusters have been created to concentrate skills and expertise with a single objective in mind. This is the case for the three clinics in the Ramsay Santé group (Clinique Belharra and Clinique Aguilera in Bayonne, and Clinique Jean le Bon in Dax), which have joined forces to create a new cluster: Ginkgo Biloba – Living Lab Pays Basque. Partners of BASQUE INVEST, Bihartean and ESTIA, this incubator aims to help start-ups in the healthcare industry with less than five years’ experience and a link to current healthcare issues to develop their offer and services. Selected start-ups have access to a workspace including office space, access to care units and healthcare professionals, and tailor-made support

With a wide range of established companies, dedicated training courses and the industry’s significant contribution to employment in the Basque Country, our region is brimming with talent and skills for setting up a healthcare business. BASQUE INVEST can help you with your location strategy, and share its expertise on the synergies of the healthcare industry and the specific needs of the Basque Country in this sector.



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