It is undeniable that Belgium holds a strong position as a vibrant life sciences hub at the heart of Europe. Although the country itself represents only a mid-sized marketplace, Belgium boasts a robust environment that fosters multinational drug makers as well as home-grown biotechs and is replete with singular expertise.
From its strategic position at the centre of the European continent, Belgium has consolidated its role as a pharma manufacturer and exporter, trading over EUR 230 million of biopharmaceuticals per day to destinations across Europe and beyond. Aside from production and exports, Belgium also demonstrates its commitment to R&D with an annual investment of over EUR five billion, making it the fourth largest pharma R&D spender within the EU.
Belgium has further displayed its prowess in the domain of clinical trials thanks to the nation’s speedy approval procedures as well as its superior infrastructure and the formidable level of expertise of its researchers. Meanwhile, the country has also become a European biotech hotbed producing a number of biotech success stories regardless of recent economic downturns.
However, despite everything it has going for it, the Belgian life sciences sector is not without its challenges. Factors such as the rising cost of labour, the equalising effect of new centralised EU clinical trials regulations and the complex and outdated approval and reimbursement processes that slow access to medicines have the potential to blunt its competitive edge.
Through in-depth interviews with key stakeholders across the Belgian healthcare value chain – including CEOs, government authorities, industry body representatives, heads of the local affiliates of multinational pharma companies, and representatives of Belgian biotech –, this report provides a comprehensive look at Belgium’s healthcare and life sciences ecosystem today.