Belgium among top 10 pharmaceutical countries worldwide

date: 01 December 2010

According to the scientific journal Nature Reviews  (Drug Discovery) Belgium, with its 200 biotech and pharmaceutical companies is a (bio) pharmaceutical concentration zone. Belgium is also one of the 10 most innovative (bio) pharmaceutical valleys in the entire world. A study on the origins of the patents on drugs that have been licensed on the American market in the past decade indicates a remarkable contribution from the researchers from Belgian laboratories: with 26 patents, our country ranks 8th worldwide.

The good collaboration and synergy present in our country between the medical and academic worlds and the (bio) pharmaceutical research companies generates a favourable climate for Research & Development of therapeutic innovations. In addition to academic and other knowledge institutions, the pharmaceutical sector in this country also performs basic research on drugs for blood disease, analgesics, neurological conditions, cardiovascular disease, gastro-intestinal disease, infections, gynaecological needs, cancer, respiratory problems, allergies, etc. Our country has a long-standing reputation for having developed 5 of the 100 essential medicines in Belgian laboratories, specifically those used to treat mental illness, colon cancer, fungal and worm infections.

The innovative drug companies invest heavily in R&D-staff in Belgium: nearly 5,000 employees are dedicated full-time to R&D, of which 3,400 are scientific researchers, representing 19 % of the researchers in the private sector. Also the amount that is spent on R&D in the sector (€1.8 billion each year) and investment in infrastructure in this country reinforce the strong establishment of the sector in Belgium. In 2009 the innovative (bio) pharmaceutical sector invested €610 million in infrastructure. In 2010 this is expected to rise to €670 million. In the course of the year, a number of pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, Janssen Pharmaceutica, GSK, Baxter and UCB, have invested in research and production facilities here.

Nature Reviews (Drug Discovery), volume 9, November 2010, Yali Friedman, 'Location of pharmaceutical innovation: 2000-2009'.


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