Fermenting a more sustainable future

Precision fermentation

In the battle against the climate crisis, precision fermentation presents a hopeful aid. Using microbes to create valuable materials, we can help to transform the global economy and shift away from harmful agricultural and industrial practices. However, despite the support of industry and Venture Capital cash, this field still faces many challenges. Though promising, we need further investment in this innovative technology before it can fully deliver on its potential for sustainable solutions.

The obesity revolution: will new drugs bring about big changes?

Overweight person's torso with measuring tape

The recent approval of the obesity and diabetes drugs Wegovy, Ozempic, and Mounjaro has brought about big headlines, but are these treatments also leading to a shift in our perception of obesity? Obesity has long been seen as a failure of individual willpower, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that losing and keeping off the kilos is a more complex, biological challenge. These new drugs offer a first, rather simplistic solution to a complicated problem, yet perhaps they will lead to a much-needed revolution in how obesity is viewed and treated.

eureKARE stimulates synthetic biology start-ups with studio in Belgium

doctor holding DNA visualization

With its network of thematic SynBio Studios, investment company eureKARE is boosting the creation of new European start-ups in synthetic biology. Its first EU studio is located in Brussels and focuses on biomedical applications. Things are moving fast, and the studio has already welcomed two companies onboard.

Coave Therapeutics: redecorating viral vectors for improved gene therapies

Rodolphe Clerval

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).

Great at small things: BCCM stores microorganisms, plasmids, hybridomas, and more!

Aliquot of human stem cells into the 6 well plate for cellular assay

BCCM is a Belgian non-profit consortium of seven biological resource centers preserving and distributing microbial and genetic resources, offering storage and scientific services for both academia and industry. These world-class collections are exceptional in terms of the number and variety of specimens and excellent quality control. BCCM’s confidential deposit services are a great way for companies to store genetic material and microorganisms for safety or patent purposes, including hybridomas and other cell lines.

Marfan patients team up with researchers to catch their silent killer

Doctor holding patient's hands

The world’s undiagnosed Marfan patients often go through life unaware of the hidden killer lurking in their DNA – a gene variant which may lead to sudden death at any moment via an aortic dissection. Currently, there is no therapy available to counteract this disastrous aortic event, so patient awareness of their condition is key to prevention. To learn more about Marfan syndrome and improve diagnosis, our project needs patients to enroll online in our research cohort. In this way, patients themselves can help us contribute to new therapies and avert sudden deaths.

Is Belgium becoming a hub for gene therapy?

Ghent, Belgium, 10 November 2022 ­– Gene therapy provides solutions to deadly diseases. Is the technology ready for a big breakthrough? The ´Science for health´ congress brings together global gene therapy pioneers and Belgian experts in Brussels on November 21 to take stock. A unique set of speakers and two debates will put the key […]

Gene therapy challenges and the solutions in sight

Federico Mingozzi

Dr. Federico Mingozzi is the CSO of Spark Therapeutics, the company behind Luxturna – the world’s first FDA-approved gene therapy for a genetic disease. Though we like to focus on success stories like Luxturna, the reality is that gene therapy is a new modality, and the field is still developing. We spoke to Dr. Mingozzi about some of the technical challenges currently hampering progress in gene therapy, and how people are working together to overcome these hurdles.

Gene therapy pioneer Dr. Katherine High on the past and future of the field

Dr. Katherine High

Dr. Katherine High is one of gene therapy’s pioneers, who has contributed to a long list of firsts in the field. As President of Spark Therapeutics, Dr. High led the team that developed Luxturna ­– the first FDA-approved gene therapy in the world and the first to be approved in both the US and Europe. Prior to that, her trailblazing clinical work with adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors helped paved the way for many subsequent gene therapies. Today, Dr. High continues her cutting-edge work as President of Therapeutics at gene therapy company AskBio, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer AG. We spoke with Dr. High about the evolution of this fascinating field, which has the potential to provide transformational therapies for so many people with otherwise untreatable genetic diseases.

Genetic blindness: shining a light on Stargardt for future cures

SciMingo logo with close-up of an eye

The arrival of gene therapy in the ‘90s brought hope for the treatment of genetic diseases. In recent years, new and emerging technologies have allowed us to overcome initial limitations, opening up the potential of tackling health conditions that were impossible to treat just a few years ago. Stargardt disease – a form of inherited blindness – is one such genetic condition, where researchers in the EU project StarT are working on novel gene therapy approaches to eventually help patients.

CRISPR takes the ‘bitter’ out of Belgian endives and chicory

Belgian endives

Researchers have identified the bitter substances in Belgian endives and chicory. Using the gene-editing technique CRISPR/Cas9, they have also succeeded in eliminating them. The result is a less bitter vegetable that may be more appetizing to children and adults alike. The catch? Outdated EU gene editing laws present a major roadblock for any company looking to actually produce the vegetables in Europe.

New start-up Trince raises EUR 4 million for innovative technology to produce personalized cancer therapies safer, cheaper, and faster

Ghent, Belgium, 6 December 2021 – Trince, a spin-off of Ghent University (UGent), is developing innovative and efficient technology to insert genetic material into cells. This genetic modification of cells is essential in, for example, cell therapy – an anti-cancer treatment that has become an integral part of modern medicine. Trince has raised EUR 4 million […]

Rejuvenate Biomed: Expanding peoples’ health spans by boosting cell resilience

Ann Beliën

Aging will affect each and every one of us at some point; it is part of the covenant of life. However, just as we have learned to treat and prevent various forms of cancers and cardiovascular diseases, there are numerous ways which we can improve peoples’ health spans. Rejuvenate Biomed is a young Belgian company in this field, leveraging safe prescription drugs to improve cell resilience and help us stay well for longer.

New GMOs on the horizon: say ‘cheese’!


To meet the challenges of climate change and global food demand, more VCs are investing in AgTech companies. A lot of these companies are using genetic modification to create better plant-based alternatives for animal products. One US company, Nobell Foods, is even developing casein-producing soybean plants that can be used to make plant-based cheese that tastes and melts like the real deal.