Belgium occupies a leading position in Europe in the field of biopharmaceutical research and development, with per capita investment well ahead of the rest of Europe.

According to recent data provided by, the Belgian federation of pharmaceutical companies, Belgium stands out not only for its investments, but also for its impact on employment, exports, and innovations in the sector.

Belgium in figures: an undisputed leader

Outstanding investment in R&D

Belgium is the undisputed leader in biopharmaceutical research and development investment in Europe. The country’s spending is almost 70% higher than that of Denmark, ranked second, and Slovenia, ranked third – a remarkable result.

Clinical trials and patents: a major contribution

In 2021, Belgium approved 578 clinical trials, representing a significant increase of over 20% compared to the previous year. In terms of clinical trials per capita, Belgium is the second most active country in Europe. In addition, the country ranks second for the number of biopharmaceutical patent applications per capita, filing more than one application per day, and third for the share of biopharmaceutical patent applications in total patent applications.


Employment and rapid increase in researchers

The Belgian biopharmaceutical sector contributes significantly to employment, with 42,062 employees in 2021. The number of researchers is increasing at a remarkable rate, with growth of 36.8% between 2016 and 2020, three times higher than the European average.

A strong ecosystem and solid partnerships

Belgium benefits from a well-developed ecosystem, a highly skilled workforce, and strong collaboration with governments and research centres. This unique combination places Belgium in the lead on every key aspect of the biopharmaceutical value chain.


An important role during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Belgian biopharmaceutical sector demonstrated its resilience and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, rising to the challenges of researching, producing, and distributing innovative solutions. This exceptional performance underlines the crucial importance of the sector in responding to global health crises.


Maintaining the lead: a constant challenge

Despite its successes, Belgium must not become complacent. Other countries have their eyes on the advantages enjoyed by the Belgian biopharmaceutical sector, and international competition is growing more intense. Close collaboration between the biopharmaceutical sector, researchers, public authorities, related industrial sectors, and stakeholders is essential if we are to maintain and strengthen our leading position.

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