Thanks to the strong stock market performance of argenx and UCB in the past year, Belgium even managed to narrow the gap with Germany, Europe’s number one. Both companies report large increases in market capitalisation, of €2.7 billion and €5.3 billion respectively. The publicly listed biotech companies in Germany, Denmark and Belgium now have a market value of just over €40 billion each, together accounting for just under €130 billion.
These are figures from KBC Securities that were presented at the State of the Union by the Flemish life sciences sector federation flanders.bio and VIB, which was presented last week during the Knowledge for Growth congress in Ghent.
The smaller listed biotech companies, worth less than €1 billion on the stock exchange, achieved a combined market value of €2.7 billion, moving Belgium up from 7th to 4th place in the European ranking. These smaller companies are having a hard time because investors are mainly interested in companies that are more established or have a larger market value.
“We expect investors to remain selective on the public markets,” says Nathalie Van Den Haute, head of Equity Capital Markets within the corporate finance team at KBC Securities. “But we are optimistic, because there is an abundance of funding available in the private market.”
Unlisted companies also came out with capital rounds last year, which foreign investors eagerly responded to. So 2021 was another record year for Belgium, with more than €1.3 billion in venture capital raised by technology players.
Dirk Reyn, chairman of flanders.bio is optimistic: “We are experiencing an unprecedented wave of scientific breakthroughs and new technologies, leading to positive results during clinical development or to new products on the market. A clear added value for patients in the end.
Knowledge for growth
Knowledge for growth, organised by flanders.bio, is one of Europe’s leading congresses in life sciences. Every year the congress welcomes over 1,000 participants from 17 different countries together: industry, academia and government. More than 70 speakers in plenary and breakout sessions highlight the new evolutions in the sector from a technological, financial, market and business perspective. Almost 100 exhibitors present the best the sector has to offer.
More information can be found on the website of flanders.bio.