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Pharmaceuticals in Flanders

Find out why Flanders is a favorite in pharmaceutical R&D and production.

Flanders is a world-class player in human healthcare. Our region is ahead of the game when it comes to the production of pharmaceuticals: over 5% of the global output of pharmaceuticals is developed in Flanders. Big names in the global pharmaceutical industry have a range of R&D and production facilities in the region, but Flanders has so much more to offer in the form of university spinoffs, talent and more — forming the perfect environment for sustainable growth.

#1
country in medicines developed per capita
€ 2.9 bln
of R&D investments per year
fastest
clinical approval in EU

A tightly-meshed human health ecosystem

Because of its reliance on open innovation, Flanders is one of the few places in the world where small, agile pharma startups can collaborate closely with huge industry players. Flanders is also number 2 in Europe when it comes to clinical trials, and a champion in pharma exports – the region produces a sixth of all medications originating from the EU.

The human health, pharma science and tech landscape doesn’t just include top universities, academic hospitals, research centers and incubators – multinational enterprises partner up with spinoffs, startups and SMEs active across many life sciences disciplines to form an incredibly rich, versatile ecosystem that is ideal for any human health company looking to start up in, relocate to or establish a subsidiary in Flanders.

Integrated into a European network of pharma industry players

Map of Flanders in Europe

Flanders is ideally situated between the UK (more specifically, the London-Oxford-Cambridge triangle), France, Germany and Switzerland. Each of these four nations has significant strengths in human health and pharmaceutical sciences.

In addition, four cities in Flanders – Ghent, Leuven, Antwerp and Hasselt – are home to universities, collaborations and production facilities that offer highly specialized services and resources relevant to a variety of life sciences fields.

Learn more about Flanders’ location.

All the talent you need, right at your door

Flanders has an extremely high concentration of human health talent and connects your business with top managers, scientists and technicians. In addition to dedicated pharmaceutical sciences and technologies programs at its five universities, the region also enables access to:

  • the MBI Life Sciences & Health academy, an entrepreneurial training course 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) – an initiative of Flanders’ universities and the VIB life sciences institute;
  • a broad range of training programs at VIB for life sciences and pharma researchers that cover emerging research domains and technologies.

Specific incentives

Flanders offers various incentives that are particularly relevant to research-intensive sectors such as the pharmaceutical 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.

Discover Flanders' tax incentives for R&D activities.

Did you know…

  • … Flanders is #2 in Europe when it comes to clinical trials?
  • … Flanders is #1 worldwide when it comes to the number of pharmaceuticals developed per capita?

Interested in doing business in Flanders?

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  • Tax system explained in-depth.
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