Wednesday May 15th 2024


Today marks a significant milestone as, the Flemish biotech & life sciences sector federation, and VIB, Flanders’ leading life sciences research institute, host their 10th State of the Union. This special edition, celebrating the 20th anniversary of, co-founded by VIB, highlights the latest developments and the vibrant growth of the biotech and life sciences cluster in Flanders, Belgium.

According to an in-depth analysis by KBC Securities, Belgium now ranks as frontrunner in the European biotech landscape. By the end of March 2024, publicly listed Belgian biotech companies reached a total market capitalization of 46.8 billion euros, positioning them first in Europe. This was mainly due to the stellar market performance of UCB.

Overall, North America is still king on the global biotech and life sciences stock markets, while investors remain somewhat more reluctant towards European listed companies. European small & midcap biotech companies in particular continue to struggle.

On the M&A (mergers & acquisitions) front globally, 2023 was an exceptional year in life sciences, with 35 deals worth almost 143 billion dollars. 2024 is looking equally promising, with 17 deals year to date, valued at 26.9 billion dollars.

“We are witnessing encouraging trends in the public markets, with the IPO landscape in the US showing signs of resurgence, and follow-on offerings approaching pre-COVID benchmarks. Moreover, our analysis suggests that major pharmaceutical players will persist in their pursuit of strategic assets via M&A activities, indicating another robust year ahead for biotech M&A transactions. In short, we believe we are nearing the “end of the tunnel” in biotech financing.” says Jeroen Van den Bossche, Associate Director Life Sciences of KBC Securities.

Private funding remains challenging

For private fundraising, 2023 was again a bumpy ride. The global deal activity was under pressure, although the capital increases of Belgian biotech companies Agomab and for instance, showed the resilience of the life sciences industry. It is important to note that Flanders was the exception worldwide in agrobiotech.  

Compared to 2022, the interest of venture capitalists (VC’s) for the Belgian life sciences companies has lowered, and the number of VC deals further decreased. M&A activity has been largely focusing on later stage assets, driven by the pharmaceutical industry’s need for short term revenue contributions to counter their patent cliff problems.

“For 2024, we do see signs for further optimism with more money being raised again, although the money is spent on fewer deals, which confirms the current main theme in the VC market: the winner takes it all!”, says Kenneth Wils, Head of Life Sciences & Care at PMV.

How to foster growth in the next years?

Jeroen Van den Bossche of KBC Securities and Kenneth Wils of PMV will both share deeper insights during the State of the Union event this evening, alongside other distinguished speakers. They will discuss promising trends and strategic moves shaping the future of biotech in life sciences industry. As is celebrating its 20th anniversary, both and VIB, are determined to further strengthen the ecosystem in the upcoming years.

Wouter Piepers, CEO of comments: “At, we are proud to have played a significant role in facilitating connection and collaboration for 20 years. But there is no place for complacency. Challenges such as stability in regulations and legislation for life sciences companies, attracting and retaining of top talent, funding all across the R&D lifecycle, fostering collaboration, and maintaining an edge in an ever growing competitive global and European environment, remain critical for the entire industry. As we continue to address these challenges, we remain committed to innovation and growth of our ecosystem in Flanders, Belgium.”

Jérôme Van Biervliet, Managing Director of VIB: “As a co-founder, VIB has witnessed the impact has had on the life sciences industry in Flanders. Looking back on last year’s results and the state of the ecosystem, it is clear there are still challenges ahead. However, we are confident that through collaboration and a shared ambition to drive innovation in scientific research, Flanders is well-positioned to maintain its leading role in the biotech industry in Europe.” is celebrating 20 years of life sciences with ‘Knowledge for Growth’

Traditionally, the State of the Union event precedes ‘Knowledge for Growth’, Europe’s leading biotechnology and life sciences business conference. Organised by, the event welcomes every year over 1,000 participants from industry, academia, and government. In 2024, the gathering is all about ‘Celebrating Life Sciences’, as this is a festive edition, honouring two-decade anniversary, and a journey in building and strengthening the biotech and life sciences ecosystem in Flanders, Belgium.

The celebration also extends to recognising the invaluable role that human expert knowledge in biology contributes to advancements in life sciences. Biology is being used across industries, ranging form biopharmaceuticals, to agriculture and food. Eminent speakers and interesting debates will emphasize this and envision the future of biology in major challenges, such as climate change, sustainable food supply and human health.

About is a dynamic, member driven organisation with currently more than 340 members from Belgium and abroad. We help our members to create value by organising Networking and Training Activities, supporting Internationalisation, providing Services, and building Expertise. and its members want to be the proud advocates of a reputable global-impact ecosystem in life sciences.

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About VIB

VIB is an independent research institute that translates insights in biology into impactful innovations for society. Collaborating with the five Flemish universities, it conducts research in plant biology, cancer, neuroscience, microbiology, inflammatory diseases, artifical intelligence and more. VIB connects science with entrepreneurship and stimulates the growth of the Flemish biotech ecosystem. The institute contributes to solutions for societal challenges such as new methods for diagnostics and treatments, as well as innovations for agriculture.

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About KBC Securities

KBC Securities is a major Belgian investment bank and a subsidiary of KBC Group. It advises companies about their strategic development, and specializes in drawing up tailored solutions in a broad range of domains.

Public companies looking to raise fresh capital can count on KBC Securities' considerable capabilities in placing shares and bonds. In this regard, it is the undisputed market leader in Belgian capital market transactions. An experienced, locally integrated team knows the market inside out and is on hand to provide advice and assistance. Institutional investors can access financial services relating to the European and US markets. KBC Securities has four core franchises: real estate, life sciences, new technologies and local champions.

KBC Securities offers a dynamic team of specialists, its network and expertise in mergers and acquisitions & private placements to private companies that are looking to make their next strategic move. Through its affiliation with Oaklins, the global market leader for advice to small and midcap companies, KBC Securities provides access to over 45 countries and 850 M&A experts who boast local sector knowledge.

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About PMV

As an investment company, PMV is building a sustainable Flemish economy, the engine of our prosperity and well-being. We are the partner of ambitious companies and projects, focusing on social impact and financial return. PMV finances promising companies from the very start, through to growth and internationalisation. PMV offers tailor-made financial solutions to entrepreneurs with a good business plan and a strong management team via capital, loans and guarantees. It also realises, with and for the government, and other partners, projects that are important for prosperity and well-being in Flanders. PMV has a portfolio with 1.8 billion euros under management.

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