For the first podcast in our series investigating the impact and importance of IP on European biotech and innovation, we have an in-depth discussion with Johan Cardoen of VIB, Gent’s life sciences research institute in Belgium. VIB has been called by Reuters, “part of the success . . . to Belgium’s distinct approach to biotech start-ups.” Given that a VIB spin-out Ablynx was recently acquired by Sanofi for $5 billion dollars, Johan’s approach to successful innovation is starting to be noticed in the EU’s offices in Brussels, just down the road from Gent, but often a world apart.
Our conversation covers many pressing topics including how VIB has built its well-deserved reputation for creating successful biotech platforms, the brain-drain of maturing biotech companies and strategies to keep them in Europe, the potential impact of IP exemptions like WTO compulsory licenses on biotech companies, why the past GMO debate matters today, and what technologies are currently going to be the next ones to impact the lives of patients.