Hyderabad: Belgium is strengthening its ties with Hyderabad, India’s largest life sciences hub, to help supply vaccines and drugs to global markets, particularly to the Europe region. The nation is in continuous talks with the pharmaceutical and biotech companies in Hyderabad to understand their needs and further increase its cooperation.
Belgium has remained a key market for exports and clinical trials in the life sciences sector as well as carrying out vaccine research in Europe. There are more than 300 life sciences companies in the country. The nation by virtue of its central location in the continent and having logistics clusters could be an ideal partner for vaccine manufacturers, says a top official.
Mark Van de Vreken, Consul General of Belgium in Chennai, told Telangana Today, “Our airports will play a key role in the dissemination globally of the Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Two of the largest airports in Belgium are gearing up for the vaccine distribution. They have advanced cold storage capabilities that meet the pharmaceutical and biotech supply needs. We want to support India as the nation contributes almost 80 percent of the United Nations’ supplies.”
He mentioned that Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director Dr. Krishna M Ella has said that the company sees the possibility of routing the vaccines via Belgium to Africa and Latin America. There are also active talks with another Hyderabad-based vaccines company Biological E on the vaccines front. The company is working on multiple Covid-19 vaccine candidates.
“Also, there are three companies in Belgium that are currently developing Covid-19 vaccines. Pfizer has chosen a Belgium location to make its Covid-19 vaccine, one among the two manufacturing sites in the world. Both Belgium and India will play a key role in providing access to vaccines,” he added.
Belgium last year appointed Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories co-chairman and managing director G V Prasad as the honorary consul in Hyderabad. Belgium team has also interacted with T-Hub to see what collaborations and engagement can happen with startups in the life sciences and technology.
When asked if Belgium pharmaceutical and biotech companies are looking to invest in setting up manufacturing and R&D facilities in Hyderabad Pharma City and Genome Valley, he said, investor connect has been enabled by Belgium in the last few years, where Belgium companies have been evaluating setting up facilities in Telangana while Hyderabad companies are evaluating setting up base in Belgium to take advantage of the European market.
Belgium today is among the top three EU trading partners of India. Bilateral trade between the nations stands at $17 billion. The current trade is heavily focused on gems and jewelry. “India and Belgium can also work together in chemicals, information technology, and nanotechnology,” noted Vreeken.