While Boston/Cambridge remains the world’s No.1 Biotech Hub, Belgium is not far behind and deserves a closer look. Belgium is well-known for its strength in biotechnology research and innovation, but equally important for its ambitions to become a true biotech valley.
Over the years the Belgian region of Wallonia has created a vibrant innovation ecosystem by equally investing in, and supporting the growth of, scientific excellence and entrepreneurial leadership. The region’s strengths are evident in cell & gene therapy, immunotherapy, vaccines and manufacturing of biologics, as it ranks top in the world.
Overall, there are more than 350 entities registered in Wallonia, a higher density than Germany or France. Furthermore, the contribution of pharma to Wallonia’s economy is 10x higher than its closest neighbors. Biomanufacturing has become the most prevalent activity in the region with over 50,000 direct and indirect jobs. This remarkable growth has flourished thanks to the dense network of university research institutions and hospitals, thereby providing ample opportunity for research partnerships and recruitment.
Today, American companies come to Wallonia to buy expertise and technology that they do not have or that they cannot find elsewhere in Europe. From 2020 to 2021, three American companies (Catalent Pharma, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Hologic) as well as a Canadian company (Nexelis) paid 1,174 million euros to take over five Walloon companies (MaSTherCell, Delphi Genetics, ImmunXperts, Henogen and Diagenode) as well as a subsidiary (Bone Therapeutics) in the life sciences sector.
In order to keep attracting investment in R&D, Wallonia offers a series of aids which aim to help companies reinforce their innovation potential, acquire external knowledge for a project’s implementation, conduct a research project, carry out a development project, create a spin-out from technologies mastered by the company but not exploited, protect innovation or even prepare a European intervention application or acquire the Eureka label.
Also, please feel free to visit us during BIO at our Belgian pavilion #1664 and meet with 60+ leading innovative biotech companies ready to explore business opportunities with you.