Data for the Bulgarian Life Sciences Sector

Bulgaria is part of the European Union and strategically captures a population of 122million people across South Eastern Europe and 293 million in Eastern Europe.

Bulgaria’s location offer access to a number of big and well-developed markets such as Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the Middle East.

Bulgaria offers the most competitive tax regime in Europe. Corporate income tax rate is 10%, which is the lowest in the EU. Personal income tax is 10%, flat rate. Bulgaria also has one of the most affordable costs of labour in Central and Eastern Europe. Average annual salary is 8 800 EUR.

Popular degrees include:

  • Health and medicine - 10 000 students

  • Biotechnology & Biology Sciences - 1 400 students

  • Chemistry and Physics - 1 600 students

  • Informatics and Computer Sciences - 8 000 students

  • STEM - 43 000 students

Health and Life Sciences Industry

  • 10 billion EUR turnover (7.5% of GDP)

  • 22 000 companies and organisations across all stages and sub-sectors within


  • 145 000 employed by the sector (4.6% of the labour force)

  • New therapies adoption – 956 days (18 th in the EU)

The Bulgarian pharmaceutical market is comprised of 90 companies which produce pharmaceutical products. The industry generates 2.3% GDP. The market value of pharmaceutical products places in the Bulgarian pharmacies amounts to 2 billion EUR.


  • 128 medical centres engaged in research

  • 11 000 students in the fields of healthcare, medicine, pharmacy and dentistry

  • 1 400 students attend specifically Biotechnology and Biology programmes

  • 200m EUR turnover from clinical research

  • 56 companies are part of the Bulgarian Health & Life Sciences Cluster

Some examples of Centres of Excellence:

  • Genomic Center

  • Medical Universities of Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Pleven

  • Centre of Competence “Personalized Innovative Medicine” – PERIMED

  • Center of Excellence in Plant Systems Biology and Biotechnology “Phantasies’”

Bulgaria is part of the initiative MEGA (The Million European Genomes Alliance) to give access to 1 million genomes in Europe by 2020. Bulgaria is one of the 14 countries in this alliance.

Clinical Research
Bulgaria offers an attractive proposition for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies to conduct affordable and efficient clinical research in the country.

The global clinical trial service market is expected to reach more than $64 billion by 2020, representing a CAGR of 9% between 2015 and 2020. By 2020 the average clinical trial outsourcing penetration will likely reach around 72%. In other words, by then close to three-quarters of clinical trials will likely be performed by professional CROs.

Bulgaria offers a very attractive opportunity for CRO companies which has attracted some leading operators such as: IQVIA; PPD and PRA Health.

Bulgaria is ranked:

  • 20 th globally by market share (numbers of clinical trials)

  • 15 th in the world by participants

  • 10 000 patients engaged in clinical trials annually in Bulgaria

  • 476 centres (199 located in Sofia, representing 41.8%)

  • 3000 employees


Sofia is one of the fastest growing tech centres in Europe. The economic impact of the Sofia technology sector is around 20% of the country’s GDP, with 90% of all tech companies based in the city.


Sofia is committed to supporting the EU’s Digital Transformation Strategy and is one of the cities part of the European Commission’s Digital Cities Challenge initiative. This initiative aims to support European cities in their path to digital transformation. The selected Digital Cities received support in the form of field advisory services provided by a group of high-level experts and peer reviewers and offered the possibility for city representatives to participate in a series of capacity building opportunities.

Bulgaria’s Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization 2014-2020 (ISIS) defines four key economic sectors: mechatronics and clean technology, informatics ICT, healthy living & biotechnology, and new technologies in the creative & recreational industries.

  • 650 Start-ups and Scale-ups

  • 15 000 employed by these companies

  • 15% of the start-ups are deep tech

  • 23 Universities, 100 000 students (42 000 in STEM), 63 research centres and independent software schools. 20 private software academies.

  • Over 27 000 students in Sofia, grades 1st to 12th currently take classes in entrepreneurship.