New incubator biotope launches to support biotech startup teams on their journey to success

The incubator is an initiative by VIB, one of the world’s premier research institutes and the driving force behind the vibrant Flanders life sciences ecosystem.

24 March 2022, Ghent, Belgium

Incubator program biotope by VIB launches today to support biotech startup teams looking to impact people’s lives through innovation. Biotope will help early entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into viable businesses, with an initial focus on agrifood innovation. The incubator is an initiative by VIB, one of the world’s premier research institutes and the driving force behind the vibrant Flanders life sciences ecosystem. Thanks to strategic investment by the Flemish Government, the European Union, the City of Ghent, and VIB, biotope can offer expert mentorship and a high-tech infrastructure to future biotech leaders from around the world. ​ 

Jérôme Van Biervliet, managing director of VIB: “VIB has an internationally recognized track record in building leading biotech companies from the scientific output of VIB. But all good ideas deserve dedicated support, regardless of their origin. With biotope, VIB wishes to provide biotech entrepreneurs with the mentoring, technology, and initial capital they need to grow their ideas into viable businesses. We envisage that biotope will be a catalyst to stimulate entrepreneurship in young talent and will contribute to the acceleration of the Flanders biotech ecosystem.” 
VIB Agro-Incubator greenhouse
VIB Agro-Incubator greenhouse

Biotope supports startups developing sustainable solutions in the agrifood domain, where innovation is desperately needed to help meet the global challenges of climate change, sustainable agriculture, and healthy food. Flanders is at the very heart of one of the world’s most innovative and active agrifood regions, providing startups with an ideal launchpad to start their journey as a biotope graduate. ​ 

The uniqueness of biotope lies in its personalized approach, and in developing the team, business, and scientific aspects of a startup. The selected teams receive pre-seed funding and intensive mentoring to build their business skills. The scientists can access high-tech facilities (including labs and greenhouses) where they can develop their technology. During the 12-month incubator program, interactions with international experts, biotech executives, research partners, and professional investors will foster their growth and get them ready for private funding. 

biotope managers Tony Montoye and Annick Verween
biotope managers Tony Montoye and Annick Verween
Annick Verween, biotope manager: “No science-based business journey is ever the same, which is why the core strength of biotope is our carefully engineered tailormade program. We limit the biotope cohorts to a small number of startups, to provide each team with highly dedicated, hands-on support. Our mission is to ensure that new startups take root and grow as part of our accelerating agrifood biotech ecosystem. We’re very excited to announce the launch of our first call for applicants and are grateful to our partners for making this program possible.” 

The first call for applicants is now open to biotech startup teams with convincing, innovative agrifood biotech ideas with a transformative potential. Biotope welcomes both local and international teams originating from either academia or industry. Applications are open until April 30th, with the first cohort to be announced by early July 2022. 

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biotope supports biotech startups from launch to viable business  | biotope by VIB
biotope by VIB is a preseed incubator program that supports early biotech entrepreneurs with building their start-up.
biotope by VIB
Joran Lauwers

Joran Lauwers

Science & Business Communications Expert, VIB

About VIB

VIB’s core mission is to generate disruptive insights in the molecular underpinning of life and to translate these actively into impactful innovations for patients and society. VIB is an independent research institute where some 1,800 top scientists from Belgium and abroad conduct pioneering basic research. As such, they are pushing the boundaries of what we know about molecular mechanisms and how they rule living organisms such as human beings, animals, plants, and microorganisms. Based on a close partnership with five Flemish universities – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Hasselt University – and supported by a solid funding program, VIB unites the expertise of all its collaborators and research groups in a single institute. VIB’s technology transfer activities translate research results into concrete benefits for society such as new diagnostics and therapies and agricultural innovations. These applications are often developed by young start-ups from VIB or through collaborations with other companies. This also leads to additional employment and bridges the gap between scientific research and entrepreneurship. VIB also engages actively in the public debate on biotechnology by developing and disseminating a wide range of science-based information. 

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