Currently operating as an innovative business network, flanders.health has the ambition to become one of the official ‘spearhead clusters’ of Flanders, the northern region of Belgium.
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Life sciences and digital innovation run in the family at flanders.health
The ‘Yes, together we can’ attitude at flanders.health
“Together, we can:
“Collaborative business development is what flanders.health membership is all about,” Dieter continues. “It’s not uncommon to have start-ups, incubators and accelerators working together with industry heavyweights, universities as well as private hospitals, research institutes and more — all with the same purpose. Foreign firms and multinationals have all the more reason to join as well. Our R&D ecosystem provides them with fertile ground for their own innovative endeavors.”
“After all,” Dieter adds, “what ties all members – even competitors – together is a firm belief that collaboration gives us the vim and vigor to change the face of healthcare and explore new business avenues. How? By intertwining life sciences, digital and medical technologies. It’s a recipe that works and attracts a lot of attention from both the private and the academic sectors. For instance, we received no fewer than 60 proposals for one of our recent project calls in the field of personalized medicine. That is several times higher than the average response rate we see in other new business areas.”
Our R&D ecosystem provides local and foreign businesses and organizations with fertile ground for their innovative endeavors.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, that much is certain. But a clear sense of direction is required to make the whole run like clockwork. Katrien Lorré, programme manager at flanders.bio adds: “That’s why the governance board has defined three key areas in which we want to push the healthcare industry forward: personalized treatment, disease prevention and recovery at home.”
Innovation in each of these areas has the power to deliver tangible benefits for individuals, society and the industry. “Take recovery at home,” Katrien highlights. “Wearable technologies, for example, can collect data and monitor a patient’s progress after surgery or treatment, allowing them to leave the hospital earlier and recuperate in their familiar surroundings. In addition to the health benefits, this significantly reduces medical costs and cuts hospital bills as well.”
“The same goes for prevention,” Dieter adds. “The data collected from wearables can help people stay in shape and alert them when their habits impact their health. This enables individuals to live healthier, happier and more productive lives for a longer time, avoiding treatment or hospitalization – and the associated costs – altogether.
We want to push the healthcare industry forward in three innovation domains: personalized treatment, disease prevention and recovery at home.
While it’s true that it’s better to be safe than sorry, not all illnesses can be avoided through preventive action. Dieter: “Even then, there are ways to make the healthcare industry more effective and cost efficient without compromising on a patient’s wellbeing. On the contrary! When our members tie together their expertise in life sciences and digital technology, we can take personalized therapies – our primary focus area – to new heights.”
“To give just one example, some of our members are working on cell-based therapies using tissue from the patients themselves. This illustrates how healthcare today is evolving towards more personalized medical treatment,” Katrien continues. “Innovations like these have the power to make medicines and other pharmaceutical products more effective, and possibly reduce the number of side effects as well. Together with our member organizations, we see it as our mission to maximize therapeutic effects and reduce the number of less effective medicines, cutting costs in the process.”
When our members unite their expertise in life sciences and digital technology, we can take personalized healthcare to new heights.
In addition to benefitting the wellbeing of individuals and society, the innovative projects enabled by flanders.health mostly aim to strengthen the health industry. “We don’t just innovate for the sake of innovation,” Dieter concludes. “Our end game is to deliver scalable medical and pharmaceutical products and therapies that enable patient-centric care and business opportunities to go hand in hand.”
Flanders.health members in the spotlight