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Flanders’ biotech scene flocks to Arenberg Science Park

At the Arenberg Science Park in Leuven (Flanders), they’re putting the finishing touches to Bio-Incubator 4 while simultaneously laying the foundation stone for a fifth incubator. The demand for such specialized labs continues to skyrocket in Flanders. In just four years, the science park will be full. For much of the park’s infrastructure that’s still under construction, prospective tenants are already eager to get things started. 

This proves that the biotech sector in Flanders is booming.

Michael De Blauwe
business developer at Bio-Incubator

The laying of the first foundation stone for Bio-Incubator 5. 

Indispensable space for biotech

The completion of Bio-Incubator 4 is in full swing at the ambitious Arenberg Science Park. By the end of 2022, the building will be buzzing with activity, providing no less than 4,000 square meters of labs for biotech start-up companies.  

"We are creating additional space for young biotech companies to carry out their research and product development,” says Bio-Incubator business developer Michael De Blauwe. “The possible R&D activities here are vast, ranging from electronic chips for medical use – think of miDiagnostics’ PCR tests, for instance – to gene and cancer therapies as well as other next-generation treatments and medicines.”

Made to fit niche players

There will also be room for spin-off companies of Leuven University and Flanders’ strategic research centers such as imec (digital and nanotech) and VIB (biotech and life sciences). Two-thirds of the new Bio-Incubator 4 building will consist of lab space, some of which will be hyper-specialized. “Among other things, there will be an area that we call the Special Lab,” De Blauwe explains. “This zone can be completely sealed off and tailored to a start-up’s needs

“Take, for example, companies that develop chips or semiconductors,” he continues. “They’ll want to work in an environment with overpressure, so no dust can enter the room in the event of a breakdown. Biotech companies that are focusing on specific pathogens, however, will want to work in a negative-pressure environment to keep pathogens from getting out in case of a calamity.” 

Popular incubator destination

Science Park Arenberg – which is just around the corner from KU Leuven, Flanders’ oldest and Europe’s most innovative university – has been particularly popular in recent years for this kind of start-up infrastructure. “Bio-Incubator 4 will be ready by the end of 2022 but is already fully booked. By the end of next year, Bio-Incubator 5 will also be finished, and it is currently one-third full. Furthermore, we plan to build an additional biotech incubator complex here by 2026. With the leads we currently have, we could already fill a first tower building of 14 floors. This demonstrates Flanders’ success in biotech and the incubation of new developments in the region.”

By 2026, the Arenberg Science Park will be entirely full. By then, it will have 90,000 square meters of built-up area compared to 40,000 today. To be continued! 

There’s more where that came from!

Flanders is home to a diverse ecosystem of businesses and organizations dedicated to life sciences & health innovation just like the Arenberg Science Park and Bio-Incubator 4. Want to unravel this ecosystem? Head to the Flanders360 platform and discover a myriad of successful and supportive life sciences & health companies, universities, R&D centers, incubators and accelerators in Flanders.

Or, check out our industry overview to learn more about the available tax, legal and other incentives for establishing your life sciences & health hub in Flanders.

More info

Arenberg Science Park
Reported by
Kanaal Z-Knack website
17 June 2022

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