Wallonia: cell therapy powerhouse in the heart of Europe

Over the past two decades, Wallonia has emerged as a global powerhouse of cell therapy and regenerative medicine research and development.

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Wallonia is a hotspot for innovative biopharma and biotechnology industry. Immunotherapy is exploding in Belgium’s Wallonia region thanks to an increasing number of initiatives and companies active in this fast-developing field. Driving this success is BioWin, one of Europe’s most innovative health clusters. Its unique ecosystem comprises 157 companies, 5 universities (Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Université de Liège (ULg), Université de Mons (UMONS) and Université de Namur (UNamur)) and 4 registered research centers. In total, the cluster includes 11,000 researchers. The biopharmaceutical industry in Wallonia has today become the driving force for growth in the region. It is the main industrial activity in Wallonia in terms of added value; it provides 54% of jobs in the Belgian pharmaceutical sector. According to Sylvie Ponchaut, BioWin’s managing director, “The government of Wallonia provides strong financial and fiscal support for the biopharmaceutical industry, which has attracted over €1 billion of private capital among SMEs since 2006. A unique ecosystem has been fostered by the presence of large players with strong roots in the region, such as GSK Vaccines, Baxter, UCB, IBA, IRE, Eurogentec Kaneka and Zoetis, and an unusually high concentration of small- and medium-sized enterprises, universities and research institutes. This has instilled a culture of technological, scientific and entrepreneurial excellence.”

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