Today, the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management in collaboration with the ULB research institute I3h announce the launch of a new Advanced Master in Biotech & MedTech Ventures. The programme addresses the thriving Belgian and European life sciences’ need for young entrepreneurial talent capable of taking on (C-level) management positions in early-stage Biotech and MedTech companies.
Belgium is widely considered to be one of the leading European life sciences hubs, attributed to the recognized world-class research performed at universities and research institutes. Based on these academic innovations, a steady stream of spin-off ventures is created, whose growth is nurtured by a complementary ecosystem of investors, service providers, large pharmaceutical companies, and government support. To build these early-stage companies into the industry powerhouses of the future, there is a need for young and ambitious entrepreneurs with a unique skillset, combining an in-depth insight in Biotech and MedTech-specific processes, strong business acumen, and excellent personal skills.
A unique programme rooted in practice
With the new programme, the Solvay Brussels School strives to contribute to the future success of Belgian life sciences by training the next generation of (C-level) executives. In an intensive year-long programme, students and young professionals from diverse backgrounds (including sciences, (bio)engineering, finance, law…) will get the opportunity to develop the required complementary set of personal, technical and business-oriented skills tailored to the management of early-stage Biotech and MedTech companies. They will learn how to develop a product, build a team, secure funding from seed stage to IPO, and build a sustainable business model that balances the challenge of profitability for the investors and the contribution to a healthy society. This specific focus on management of early-stage companies makes this programme unique.
This Advanced Master also stands out thanks to its innovative delivery method. Similar programmes typically have an academic focus, with the practical perspective only provided by a limited number of guest lectures. In contrast, the Solvay Brussels School’s programme is essentially rooted in practice with 75% of classes taught by industry leaders, enabling students to tap into the wealth of expertise present in global life sciences ecosystems. Drawing from their extensive personal experience, these industry experts prepare participants for the specific managerial challenges they will encounter throughout the different development stages in the life cycle of a Biotech or MedTech company. In practical use cases, the participants will get the opportunity to tackle practical problems, at the end of which, they will apply their newly acquired skills in a real-life setting with an internship and a capstone project. This extensive hands-on experience will enable graduates to transition seamlessly into a leadership position, providing an immediate solution to the sector’s demand for young entrepreneurial talent.
Strong Belgium-wide support
Since it is providing an answer to a pressing need, the new programme is receiving very strong support from the life sciences ecosystem. A broad consortium of academic and industry partners spanning all Belgian regions is contributing heavily to the curriculum, with partners teaching modules corresponding to their specific area of expertise.
In addition to this operational support, many partners have contributed financially, providing the seed funding needed to develop the programme. Founding partner Degroof-Petercam is joined by foundations such as the King Baudouin Foundation, federal funds such as SFPI-FPIM, and many private sponsors such as Newton BioCapital, Euronext, 2Bridge, Virdis Group, and Declerq & Partners.
Karin Doguet, General Manager Solvay Lifelong Learning: “Solvay Lifelong Learning (SLL) develops training courses benchmarked against cutting-edge developments in business. The Advanced Master in Biotech and Medtech Ventures is part of this endeavour. The offering is multidisciplinary, as are these businesses, and involve faculty with varied and experienced profiles. Participants are proposed an ideal dynamics for growth through intensive group learning sessions, development of technical and leadership skills, as well as extensive networking opportunities in a key sector of our economy, both at the federal and regional levels.”
Ajit Shetty, Chairman of the VIB Board of Directors: “VIB has a strong track-record in building new biotech ventures, but also has a vested interest in the strength of Belgian life sciences in general. My VIB colleagues and I are excited at this opportunity to give back and personally mentor the next generations of Biotech and MedTech managers, preparing them for any challenge they will face when leading their future companies to success.”
Philippe Monteyne, Partner at Fund+: “I’m honoured and proud to contribute to the launch of this initiative. Belgium is a fantastic ecosystem for Biotech and MedTech companies but has a need for a continual influx of talent. Investments into this programme, both in terms of mentorship and any other form of support, will pay themselves back manifold in the future by developing the executives of tomorrow. While strongly rooted in Belgium, this Advanced Master will have an impact across Europe and the world.”