Life Science sector
in Brussels

A vibrant ecosystem, buzzing with new ideas, projects and achievements. The ecosystem supports and accelerates start-ups and scale-up companies, promoting collaboration and cross-fertilization of ideas. Just as an example every year over 500 clinical trials applications are submitted by the biopharmaceutical industry in Belgium (12% of the European total), with applications being processed and approved quickly before over 170,000 patients participate in phase 2 and 3 trials.

From specialist incubators and state-of-the-art research institutions to flexible authorities and productive partners, Brussels is the perfect place to expand your life science business. Whether you’re in the Clinical trial, E-health or MedTech sector, the Region is ready to support your company as you achieve your ambitions.

Facts and figures


  • Main fields of expertise: Clinical trials, E-health and MedTech
  • Clinical trial: highest rate for CT authorizations in the EU (47/1 Mio capita)
  • E-health: 50% Brussels citizens have given their consent for EMR
  • All 18 Brussels hospitals & 9.000 healthcare professionals use the EMR
  • 69,000 jobs in healthcare and social care


  • 20,000 jobs in the MedTech industry
  • € 3.5 billion turnover from the MedTech industry
  • 28,881 jobs in the Pharma industry
  • € 65.5 billion turnover from the Pharma industry (including chemistry)
  • R&D investment
    Highest rate in the pharma / capital industry


  • Oncology – 19% of all clinical trials related to cancer
    worldwide are conducted in Brussels.
  • Pfizer – Located one of their two global Phase 1 clinical trial units in Brussels.
  • International trials – BIG, Bordet Institute, De Duve Institute, EORTC and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research run clinical trials in Brussels.
  • Key sectors supported by the Brussels-Capital Region are
    Digital health and Medical technologies.
  • Priorities of the Region relate to continuity of care, patient empowerment, prevention and personalised medicine.
  • MedTech Meetup – the largest Belgian MedTech inspiring and networking event.
  • Finance& – The city’s public investment fund invests in medical device projects.



  • Your entry door to the Brussels lifetech ecosystem
  • Gathering 150 members
  • Vision: accelerating the innovation to the benefit
    of the patient
  • Services:
    – Business support (regulatory, business development, fundraising,…)
    – Networking events
    – International missions


  • MedTech Accelerator®: Start-up annual program to accelerate the commercial deployment of MedTech innovations
  • Over 35 projects and startups helped since 2016
  • MedTech Atelier®: prototyping service


  • € 4 million invested by Brussels-Capital Region over 4 years to foster the use of EMR
  • 50% of Brussels residents have consented to having an EMR
  • 100% usage of EMR in all 18 hospitals and by all 9,000 healthcare professionals in Brussels
  • Connectathon the largest EMR interoperability event will be hosted in Brussels in 2020


  • 47 authorised clinical trials / 1 Mio capita Highest rate of authorisation in the EU
  • 18 hospitals 11 acute care and 7 psychiatric care
  • 3 academic hospitals UZ Brussels, Erasme hospital and Saint-Luc hospital signed more than 300 new sponsored clinical studies / per year

R&D Incentives

  • IP regime – Maximum effective tax rate of 3.75%
  • Full amortisation of IP – IP investments can be fully amortised based on their useful life
  • Investment deduction for R&D and patents – ‘On-top’ deduction of investment value in qualifying assets, amounting
    to 13.5% (one-off) to 20.5% (spread°
  • Payroll withholding tax exemption – 80% exemption of payroll withholding tax is available to certain organisations
  • Local and European grants – Numerous initiatives on a regional and European level to stimulate scientific research
    and industrial development
  • Tax credit for R&D and patents – Investment deduction can be
    converted into a tax credit for R&D and patents. Unused credit can be refunded after 5 year