Tuesday November 9th 2021



A collaboration between GSK, a multinational pharma company whose vaccines headquarters are in Wallonia, and imec, a leading nanoelectronics research centre based in Flanders, is bringing together in Belgium two of its most innovative sectors. The cross-over collaboration between the two scientific domains has the ambition to create disruptive new solutions for the pharmaceutical sector, building on Belgium’s well-established reputation in biopharma. 

The partnership between GSK and imec follows a year of explorative collaboration and research leading to promising preliminary results. It will focus on specific R&D and biomanufacturing projects. In R&D, GSK and imec will explore how nanotechnology can accelerate the development and production of new vaccines through disruptive highly parallelized solutions. In biomanufacturing, nanotechnology will be used to automate and improve control of manufacturing processes.

GSK and imec are currently working together on several projects that arose from Makeathon workshops organized by GSK. These workshops allow experts from both organizations to interact and focus on specific interdisciplinary challenges to conceive new, high-impact products for the future of vaccine development and bio-manufacturing.

Thomas Dermine, State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments, in charge of Scientific Policy: “Belgium has leading pharmaceutical companies, top hospitals, a strong industrial ecosystem in life sciences including many start-ups, top biotech research at universities and the world leading R&D in nanoelectronics. By leveraging expertise and knowledge, sharing one vision and dividing costs of disruptive R&D, such a collaboration between GSK and imec will drive innovation and pave the way to a revolution in healthcare. Moreover, this collaboration consolidates Belgium's strategic role in vaccine research and development and fully mirrors the ambition of the Government to strengthen the position of Belgium as the “Health and Biotech valley of tomorrow”.

Jamila Louahed, Vice-President Research and Development GSK Vaccines in Belgium: ‘GSK is very excited to co-create with an important deep tech company that is part of Belgium’s strong biotech ecosystem.  mRNA is a major opportunity for the future of vaccines and a key priority for our company. The combination of our expertise in biopharma and imec’s nanotechnology capabilities can impact the development of new vaccines including mRNA vaccines which are a major opportunity. We aim to use this collaboration to develop new vaccine technologies that are tailored to people’s needs, and to also make vaccine manufacturing faster and more efficient.’ 

Liesbet Lagae, scientific director life sciences and fellow at imec: “By joining forces in disruptive R&D and bringing the power of chip technology to the world of healthcare, we envision a future of highly personalized care. Also, our collaboration aims at driving innovation in biomanufacturing, enabling automation and better control of manufacturing processes. We are looking forward to discovering future synergies between nanoelectronics and pharma.”