First stone Bio-Incubator in Ghent
The Flemish biotech sector is growing fast, resulting in a clear demand for more infrastructure.
May 4, 2022
Ghent, 29 April 2022 - The Flemish biotech sector is growing fast. This expansion requires additional infrastructure. That is why VIB – in partnership with PMV and with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – is building an ultramodern bio-incubator on 'Eiland Zwijnaarde', the new technology campus of Tech Lane Ghent Science Park. The first stone of the VIB Bio-Incubator was placed in the presence of Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits.
The VIB Bio-Incubator will provide state-of-the-art lab infrastructure for up to 15 emerging biotech companies in the biopharmaceutical and agro-biotech fields. It will also be the new base for VIB headquarters. The building, designed by Modulo Architects and Stéphane Beel Architects in collaboration with the engineering firms Istema and Establis, is realized by a temporary partnership Jansen-Cordeel-Farbicom. It will be available by late 2023.
The new VIB Bio-Incubator is located strategically in the heart of the Ghent biotech ecosystem and close to VIB and UGent knowledge centers active in biotechnology.
Pioneering role in the bio-incubator ecosystem
VIB was one of the first parties to realize this important project of the growing Flemish biotech sector on the new technology campus. In the meantime, several other biotech players have specific plans to settle there, which means the science park will provide a new work location for more than three thousand employees.
Wim Goemaere (COO VIB): “A vibrant biotech sector and the need for infrastructure go hand in hand. VIB has taken up its responsibility to provide an answer to this, ever since the construction of our first Bio-Incubator in the late 1990s. Today, Flanders has a high-performance ecosystem of bio-incubators and accelerators. VIB will continue to focus on this and we will continue to play our pioneering role. The new VIB Bio-incubator is a perfect illustration of this."
Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits: “Flanders is among the world’s leaders in biotech. Not only in terms of health, but also for sustainable food production. With the new Bio-Incubator of VIB and PMV we want to safeguard and strengthen this top position. We invest 4 million euros via European funding to provide even more lab space for young researchers or start-ups. The Bio-Incubator will bustle with creativity and innovation as a place where researchers and entrepreneurs can work on developments improving the health and prosperity of tomorrow.”
Investing in infrastructure
The realization of such a project requires specific expertise and the mobilization of many financial resources. The Flemish investment company PMV, also an important financier of (starting) biotech companies, has supported this project from the start, which is located at Tech Lane Ghent Science Park, a science park that PMV is realizing together with UGent and the City of Ghent. The park accommodates university spin-offs, start-ups and growing companies, and research centers of large international companies that have to fertilize each other and create new initiatives. PMV set up a project company with VIB to realize and operate the VIB Bio-Incubator. PMV coordinated the procedures and provided both capital and a subordinated loan to the project company.
Michel Casselman, CEO of PMV: " As financier and project director of the new building, we want to ensure the anchoring of the biotech cluster in Ghent. PMV is one of the most active investors in Belgium, with a portfolio of around 10% in life sciences. Not infrequently, these are companies that originated here in Ghent and that, thanks to PMV financing, can successfully develop into companies that work on today's major social challenges with new therapeutics, new diagnostics, sustainable agricultural applications, or food innovation. A steadfast partner like PMV is crucial for the success of such start-ups and their further development in our region.”
More info on the VIB Bio-incubator
Conceived as a vertical screen with two parts, the new VIB Bio-Incubator will have a dynamic and (inter)active side alongside the E40 and a creative side looking out over the campus. It also acts as an acoustic screen and protects the campus from the motorway. Together with a BREEAM certification and carbon-neutral operations, the building represents another great step in VIB's commitment to sustainable progress.
The VIB Bio-Incubator will offer up to 6,000 m² of net operational space, separated into flexible modules. Each module will have equipped lab areas, offices, support space, and storage space. To promote interaction between the companies on each floor there are informal meeting corners and flexible workplaces.