Obulytix is developing a revolutionary solution for antibiotic resistance

Obulytix, a spin-off based on research results from Ghent University and KU Leuven, has built a platform that creates new ways to tackle bacterial infections. The innovative, phage lysin-based platform – leveraging the power of artificial intelligence – attracted a significant four-million-euro investment from Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Qbic, and Gemma Frisius Fund.

Johan Cardoen’s hopes for the future of agriculture

Johan Cardoen

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.

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.

Biodevice-CRO: smart solutions for better bioprocessing


Biodevice-CRO is a MEDVIA project uniting three very different, but complementary, Flemish companies: ICsense, Comate, and Antleron. This unique partnership aims to provide life science actors with customizable, modular bioprocess solutions through a collaborative Contract Research Organization (CRO) model. These smart solutions – the biodevice based on an integrated chip, biofluidic cartridge, and functional device – will enable fast-track development of personalized medicines and improved diagnostics.

Bar.on presents the world’s first beer printer

Woman using Bar.on beer printer

Instantly turning water into beer may sound like a biblical miracle, but that’s exactly what Belgian start-up Bar.on is now doing. Their ‘molecular beer printer’ takes mere seconds to turn water into different styles of beer, with customized bitterness, alcohol content, fruitiness, and sweetness. Backed by science, the company is on a mission to make the beer industry more sustainable and hopes to soon roll out its molecular beer mixing technology to different markets.

Nicky Deasy: how agrifood startups can help us tackle climate change

Nicky Deasy

Nicky Deasy is Co-Founder and former Managing Partner at The Yield Lab Europe, one of the largest early-stage venture capital funds in the EU focused on the intersection of sustainability and agtech. Since stepping back from the day-to-day running of the fund, she is an Investment Committee Member at biotope by VIB, as well as advising a number of startups and investment funds focused on improving the environmental and carbon footprint of the agrifood industry. She shares her thoughts on how innovative ag- and food-tech startups can help us tackle climate change.

Brewing up a new business: AB InBev surprises with ambitions for animal-free proteins

Man walking in industrial brewery

Belgian-American AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, has set up a separate R&D division called BioBrew to develop animal-free proteins using precision fermentation. Quite a number of companies are already focused on producing alternative proteins, which don’t cause harm to animals and are more sustainable, but they generally lack the capacity to produce them on a commercial level. This is one of the things that sets BioBrew apart, thanks to AB InBev’s knowhow of using yeast fermentation on a large scale to make beer.

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.

We need more food and agtech start-ups – and we need them now!

Asian woman crouching in a rice paddy with a computer

How are we going to feed an expected 10 billion people by 2050 in a sustainable way? It is a daunting task. Our climate is changing, and a combination of environmental and economic factors are already resulting in widespread food shortages. There is no simple solution to this problem, but innovation in the food and agtech sector will help alleviate the burden. To make this possible, stakeholders – including researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and governments – need to make agrifood innovation a priority immediately.

From pattern to patient: microbiome research needs to bridge the gap to the clinic

People crossing stepping stones

The microbiome has been a trending scientific topic in recent years. Researchers have uncovered correlations between the human microbiome and a wide range of diseases and health states, ranging from digestive issues to mental wellbeing. But no matter how fascinating these academic findings may be, translating them into concrete clinical applications remains a challenge. How can we enable more efficient clinical valorization of microbiome insights, and pave the way from pattern to patient?

VC opportunities for impact in the face of climate disaster

Green piggybank

Venture capitalists have a vital role to play in guiding our planet’s future. By investing in technological advances that remediate environmental ruination, enable adaptation to new conditions, and heal challenging diseases, VC funds can help improve the world while also benefiting their bottom line. But there is an even bolder approach available to VCs who really want to do good: influencing governments by earmarking funds for advocacy groups.

biotope by VIB: helping biotech startups take root in the ecosystem

Tony Montoye and Annick Verween

VIB’s new incubator program biotope fosters early biotech startups looking to impact people’s lives through agrifood innovation. Based in the heart of a flourishing ecosystem, biotope supports young companies looking to de-risk their technology, build a viable business case, and connect with expert scientists, industry leaders, and investors. The aim is to create mutual benefit for both the ecosystem and the entrepreneurs – providing the region with an influx of talent and innovation, and the startup teams with the support and brains they need to grow and succeed.

Bacterial biofilms: cooperative bugs cling to food surfaces even after cleaning

Gloved hand holiding a disinfectant spray bottle

Current cleaning and disinfection practices in food industries are insufficient to destroy unwanted bacteria lurking on surfaces, according to recent Belgian research. Cooperation between diverse types of bacteria makes them stronger and more resilient, causing huge damage in terms of food spoilage, recalls, and health issues. Understanding the development of these microbial communities and their underlying cooperation is vital for assuring food safety, and may lead to developing better forms of biocontrol.

Modern alchemy: turning microalgae into ‘green gold’

Hands cupping water with algae

Much has been said about the huge economic potential of algae, but this ‘green gold’ has yet to meet expectations. The European project IDEA – led by Belgian research center VITO – is examining the economic benefits of microalgae and developing strategies to overcome remaining challenges. Interim results show that algae can very well be grown in the climate of Northwestern Europe and can be used to efficiently produce products such as healthy biscuits, animal feed and cosmetic applications.

New incubator biotope by VIB launches to support biotech startup teams on their journey to success

Ghent, Belgium, 24 March 2022 – Incubator program biotope by VIB launches today to support biotech startup teams looking to impact people’s lives through innovation. Biotope will help early entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into viable businesses, with an initial focus on agrifood innovation. The incubator is an initiative by VIB, one of the world’s premier research institutes and the […]