Biotechs in Wallonia currently employ 16,000 people and continue to rise.
According to Olivier Vanderijst, head of SRIW, the Walloon investment company, the policy developed in the south of the country, which favours the emergence of innovative companies thanks to competitiveness clusters, provides real results with the successful launches on the stock exchange of Cardio3 Biosciences and Bone Therapeutics.
Also, in just over ten years Belgium has earned itself a worldwide reputation in biotechnology. Our country now has over 300 companies (mainly start-ups and SMEs) in a sector where it ranks fourth in the world in terms of research investment per company.
Wallonia currently has 140 businesses active in this advanced sector. This is partly the result of the Marshall plan, which was launched in 2005 and has since been adjusted several times. But this alone does not explain the rise in biotechnology in the south of the country.
“Wallonia’s current ecosystem is favourable to innovative companies“, explains Olivier Vanderijst.“Besides the presence of key players such as UCB or GSK, Wallonia has the advantage of a network of universities and high-quality researchers, a meeting point for players thanks to the BioWin competitiveness cluster, which allows competences to be exchanged, plus R&D support from the Walloon Region.“
The figures are there to prove it. In 2013, all companies in the sector operating in Wallonia generated a combined turnover of around 5.5 billion euros and employed 16,000 people, a figure that has grown consistently since 2005. Their exports were worth 9.1 billion euros, with a positive trade balance of 2.4 billion euros.
L’Echo – 8/02/2015