VIB as innovation partner
VIB is an entrepreneurial research institute that seeks to transfer the results of its scientific investigations to society. To this end, the members of VIB’s Innovation & Business team draft, file and prosecute patents, establish research collaborations with industrial partners, outlicense intellectual property and create spin-off companies. These activities result in an average 10-15 million euro per year in industrial income and 23 spin-off companies with a total of +850 employees.
VIB DISCOVERY SCIENCES
VIB Discovery Sciences is a translational research lab, part of VIB’s Innovation & Business unit. A dedicated team of industry-experienced scientists aims to build a portfolio of valuable projects that deliver validated starting points for the development of small molecules, biologicals and agrochemicals. Translating novel targets, emerging from research of VIB research groups into promising projects of drug development and agro-biotech innovations is its core business.
Creating a stimulating environment for biotech entrepreneurs
Having a meaningful impact on society is what drives many scientists. VIB takes a proactive approach geared towards protecting new inventions by patents. These inventions serve as the basis for new startups and agreements with life science companies and thus create economic and social added value. VIB also provides significant support for the growth and development of the life sciences cluster in Flanders.
VIB and argenx collaborate to treat asthma
The research teams of Bart Lambrecht and Savvas Savvides (VIB-UGent) have established that Charcot-Leyden Crystals stimulate the immune system and induce key features of asthma, including the production of altered mucus, which poses a major problem for most asthmatics. VIB teamed up with the Belgian biotech company argenx to develop antibodies that can dissolve these crystals, with the aim of reducing key asthma symptoms. argenx acquired rights to these ARGX-118 antibodies and will further develop the path from lead to clinical drug candidate.
The experimental brewery of VIB and KU Leuven
Kevin Verstrepen’s team uses yeast cells to study how cells adapt to their environment. With that understanding of genetics and molecular biology, the scientists also develop novel yeast variants for a wide range of applications: from beer, wine and chocolate to industrial ethanol, biofuels and pharmaceuticals. For instance, the team works on yeast strains that give beer more flavor and that can ferment beer faster and better. In 2017, with support from about 20 other industrial partners, Professor Verstrepen has set up his own experimental brewery at the Kasteelpark Arenberg in Leuven.
What alumni say
The most important contribution of VIB to my career is that its directors and staff believed in our technology
and founded Actogenix. Without this company, I might have become a professor in Ireland or something else
somewhere else, who knows.
I have been trained at VIB where translational research and entrepreneurship are key values. The combination of scientific excellence and a clear business strategy is essential for leading ONA Therapeutics.
INTERNSHIP PROGRAM IN VIB’S INNOVATION & BUSINESS TEAM
One of the key roles of VIB is to train and provide a dynamic and highly qualified talent pool for local life sciences companies and organizations. Via an internship program, VIB’s Innovation & Business team offers business experience to young scientists.