VIB is a globally leading life sciences & technology institute
Technology transfer is firmly embedded in VIB’s mission. VIB research leads to new and innovative insights into life processes, benefiting society as a whole. Our Innovation & Business team focuses on translating research results into diverse new products, agricultural innovations, medicines and therapies that improve lives.
VIB combines excellence in research with distinction in technology transfer. This economic added value creates new economic activity and new jobs in our region and generates extra revenue for VIB.
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.
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.
VIB at center of a Life Sciences ecosystem
An open and collaborative culture is conducive to innovation and creates important leverage for value and investments. To drive the international competitiveness of the life sciences ecosystem in Flanders, the most important factors are: leading-edge science and access to knowledge, availability of talent and skills, and affordable state-of-the-art lab and office space.
Knowledge and expertise from a research institute such as VIB is inspiring and forms the ideal breeding ground for innovation projects. Both young start-ups and international pharmaceutical companies find their way to the biotech clusters and to important partners to develop collaborations. At the same time, they can tap into the available talent and know-how. Over the years, several foreign biotech companies have set up businesses in Flanders, collectively investing 900 million euro in the region and creating direct employment for 690 people.
VIB alumni in industry
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.