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Medical biotechnology in Flanders

Leading organizations and scientists from around the world make Flanders a hotspot for the life sciences and health industries, and a leader in the medical biotechnology sector, which is also known as red biotech and combitech. The key word? Multidisciplinary.

Leading red biotechnology ecosystem

Red biotechnology is a multifaceted field of health-focused life sciences that ensures the creation of innovative diagnostics and therapeutics that adhere to the strictest ethical and scientific guidelines. Closely related are the medtech and pharmaceuticals sectors , which all benefit from and contribute to innovations relevant to red biotechnology. 45% of all life sciences and R&D startups are active in this sector.

Flanders is a concentrated hub of knowledge centers, institutes, corporations and other stakeholders, forming one of the world’s best environments for innovation and R&D in the field of red biotech.


All the talent at hand

Flanders connects your business with top managers, scientists and technicians in medical biotechnology. In addition to high-quality life sciences education tracks at its five universities, the region also enables access to:

  • the MBI Life Sciences & Health academy, an entrepreneurial training course available in both the Netherlands and Flanders;
  • life sciences internships at biotechnology SMEs, as part of the OPINNO program;
  • the Flanders Training Network Life Sciences (FTNLS) – a joint initiative of Flanders’ universities and the VIB life sciences institute;
  • a broad range of training programs at VIB for life sciences researchers that cover emerging research domains and technologies.

Specific incentives

Flanders offers various incentives that are particularly relevant to research-intensive sectors like the medical biotech industry. Examples include:

  • investment deduction for R&D – 13.5% of acquisition value/qualifying asset or 20.5% of the depreciated amount;
  • exemption of payment of 80% – of the personal income withholding tax of researchers in certain scientific fields;
  • innovation income deduction – up to 85% of a firm’s net earnings from innovation is tax exempt.

R&D tax incentives in Flanders

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