A centre of scientific and industrial
Belgium is a global leader in biotech and biopharma R&D innovation, clinical trials, and cutting edge biomanufacturing platforms. Together, they have driven numerous medical breakthroughs.
leader in R&D
Over the last three decades, R&D spending in Belgium has grown faster than Japan, Europe, and even the US.
With €5.7 billion invested in R&D in 2022 alone, the EU’s European Innovation Scoreboard ranks Belgium as an ‘innovation leader’.
The country is positioned at the forefront of tomorrow’s technologies such as cell and gene therapy (ATMP), CAR-T cell therapies, mRNA technologies, next-generation vaccines, nanobodies, immunotherapies, and plasma derivatives to name just a few.
invested into Research & Development (2022)
patent applications submitted (2022)
more patent applications submitted compared to the EU27 (2016-2021)
deduction on innovation income tax, plus a host of unique R&D support and incentives
Belgium’s long-standing expertise to vaccine R&D has transformed it into the Vaccine Silicone Valley. I am so proud our innovations impact the health of millions of people around the world.
Strong expertise in clinical trials
With a strong expertise in the field of clinical trials, Belgian ranks above the European average in first-in-human phase 1 and 4 trials.
Belgium is consistently ranked as a European leader in clinical trials per capita, trials testing cancer drugs, and trials testing rare diseases. The country also played a key role in clinical trials testing the life-saving mRNA vaccine.
of European cancer drug clinical trials are conducted in Belgium (2021)
consecutive years in the EU top 3 of clinical trials per capita
of clinical trials are conducted in the field of rare diseases
This European vaccination campaign, this success story, would not have been possible without Belgium. It was in Belgium where the new, the life-saving mRNA vaccines have been produced for the very first time on a large scale. It was Belgium that played a key role in the clinical trials. And it is Belgium from which Europe sends a large proportion of vaccines, exporting to countries all over the world.
Leadership in biomanufacturing
The COVID pandemic saw a significant extension from ‘invented in Belgium’ to ‘made in Belgium’.
Recent growth in the country’s biotech industry is mostly being powered by the expansion of cutting edge biomanufacturing companies, including those at the forefront of the remarkable CDMO (Contract Development Manufacturing Organisation) expertise for cell and gene therapies.
Recent pioneering biomanufacturing investments
Pfizer to invest €1.2 billion
Pfizer is set to invest more than €1.2 billion euros in its production facility at Puurs over the next three years.
This is the largest investment ever at the site, and will create an estimated 250 new jobs at the plant.
Pfizer Puurs played a crucial role in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with the production of a corona vaccine. This new investment builds on the role the facility has played, and will provide a large-scale platform for manufacturing innovative medicines and vaccines.
UCB to invest over 200 million euros
UCB expands its innovation footprint with new state-of-the-art gene therapy facility. An investment of more than 200 million euros over the coming years.
At UCB, we believe everyone deserves to live the best life that they can – as free as possible from the challenges and uncertainty of disease. Gene therapy can drive a fundamental change in how diseases are treated, offering the potential to move from treating symptoms to disease modification and eventually towards a cure. This is why we are exploring new tools and technologies, and making investments in capabilities and platforms to deliver on new potential innovations. In 2022, we announced the construction of a new state-of-the-art facility at our Braine-l’Alleud Campus: besides bringing our current and future gene therapy research projects to patients, it will be a great opportunity to develop and attract talents who want to push the boundaries of science.