Overview - Biotechnology

An Expert's View about Pharmaceuticals in Belgium

Last updated: 11 Apr 2011

Biotechnology in Belgium:
Healthcare applications: 80%
Agri-food applications: 15%
Industrial and environmental applications: 5%

Biotechnology is not a sector in itself but a technology that can be applied within various sectors, such as the pharmaceutical, chemical and agricultural sectors.

Belgium maintains a well-structured network of world acclaimed scientists, prominent research institutions and universities. The availability of high quality, advanced science and technology has attracted many research-oriented multinationals. While Belgium represents less than 3% of the European population, it has approximately 140 biotech companies (7% of all European biotech companies), employing 10,000 employees and creating net revenue of almost € 3 billion. The first Belgian biotechnological companies developed as a result of the presence of 16 university centers and research parks, located in the three regions of Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia.

In Flanders the biotech sector and its research centers are concentrated in Ghent and Leuven. One of the main drivers of research in Flanders is the uniquely structured Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), in which 1000 scientists are engaged in both basic and applied research. Flanders’ Biovalley is situated around the Ghent Harbor and focuses on biofuels and bio-enzymes.

In Wallonia, the biotech centers are located in Liege, Mons, Ottignies, Charleroi, Namur and Gembloux. BioWin is the health competitiveness cluster of Wallonia, a region of Belgium (South of Brussels). Created in July 2006, its ambition is to federate all stakeholders from Wallonia participating in innovation and training in the field of biotechnology and health. BioWin’s members are active in the main health biotechnology sectors, namely: pharmacy and biopharmacy, diagnoses, medical devices and equipment. They are all innovation driven, whether in the field of research and development or on the production side.

The Brussels Capital Region has 18 companies involved in R&D; some companies are active in the healthcare and industrial-environment sector, and six companies offer related services.

Read the complete guide to Doing Business in Belgium

Posted: 10 April 2011, last updated 11 April 2011