BioWin and MEDVIA are two Belgian organizations which support and promote health innovation in Wallonia and Flanders. This year, these two clusters have come together to jointly organize the event Science for health on the topic of ‘biology meets technology’. In this dual interview, Ann Van Gysel (MEDVIA) and Sylvie Ponchaut (BioWin) discuss the differences between their regions and how they are working to improve cross-border collaboration in Belgium.
This year, Science for health will explore the inspiring innovations at the interface of biology and technology. The event will bring together academics, industry leaders, and policymakers to explore the newest treatment platforms and factories of the future. BioVox spoke to Werner Verbiest, member of the event’s Scientific Committee, about the topic and why collaboration is so key right now.
Belgian Prof. Jan Rabaey has spent the past 35 years conducting pioneering tech research at the University of California at Berkeley. His groundbreaking electronics work has been used in a range of modern devices, including the iPad, brain-computer interfaces, and wireless sensor nodes used for the Internet of Things. The ongoing theme of his work has been miniaturization and connection, which he is now using to link technology and people like never before.
Flanders is home to one of the world’s most innovative agrifood clusters, and Johan Cardoen has been a central figure in that ecosystem for over three decades. From leading positions in agtech startups to the Managing Director of VIB, Cardoen has run the gamut of Flemish biotech. Interested in his decades of firsthand experience in the sector, we spoke with Cardoen about his views on the past, present, and future of sustainable agriculture.
There is a lot of money being invested in health innovation in Flanders, yet companies consistently run into the same roadblocks on their path to market. MEDVIA’s mission is to bring people together to address these barriers, and to facilitate the creation of complex collaborations between different members of the ecosystem for truly innovative patient solutions.
Coave Therapeutics is a French biotech developing gene therapies for neurodegenerative and ocular diseases. The company has developed a technology platform that can be used to redecorate the outer surface of viruses, creating gene therapy vectors that are better at accurately delivering healthy genes to the right target cells, including neurons in the deep brain tissue. By combining this vector technology with transgenes restoring natural cell cleaning pathways, the company has created a pipeline of therapies for both genetically and non-genetically defined neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).