During a press conference on Thursday, Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot announced the creation of a first incubator exclusively dedicated to health technologies (HealthTech) as part of the extension of the House of Biohealth in Esch-Belval.
Offering nearly 350 m2 of furnished laboratory space, the bioincubator will host spin-offs and start-ups. Representing an investment of €850,000, the project will be operational in spring 2021. The bioincubator will be housed in the House of Biohealth and will be able to accommodate between eight and ten spin-offs and start-ups during the first two to three years of starting their activities.
The bioincubator is expected to accelerate the economic impact of investments devoted to developing public biomedical research in Luxembourg. In addition to the provision of fully equipped laboratory spaces, the hosted companies will benefit from professional support in terms of business development specific to the HealthTech sector.
The announcement of the bioincubator was made in the context of the completion of the structural frame of the third and final extension of the House of Biohealth. From its inauguration in January 2015, it was expected that the development of the House of Biohealth would take place in several phases. Covering 5,000 m2 of additional surface area, the third and final extension will be completed in 2021, making it possible to host up to 600 researchers on nearly 9,500 m2 of surface for laboratories and 5,500 m2 of surface for offices.
Currently, nine companies (SMEs and VSBs) and two public research laboratories (Luxembourg Institute of Health - LIH and Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine - LCSB) occupy the premises in Esch-Belval where approximately 450 people are employed. The fields of activity are varied and reflect the diversity of the Luxembourgish HealthTech sector, ranging from diagnostics to medical devices and digital health.
The House of Biohealth is the result of collaboration between the Ministry of the Economy, private investors and the intercommunal trade union for the creation, development, promotion and operation of an economic activity zone with a regional character in Ehlerange (ZARE). The Ministry of the Economy will support the public-private partnership project by providing a rental guarantee.
At the end of the press conference, the Economy Minister visited the facilities of the Fast Track Diagnostics company which was bought by Siemens Healthineers in 2017. Active in the development of molecular diagnostic kits (PCR) used in as part of Luxembourg's large-scale COVID-19 testing initiative, the company currently employs 127 people. As part of the granting of aid to fight coronavirus, it received financial support from the Ministry of the Economy to develop a new version of its diagnostic kit.
Economy Minister Franz Fayot noted: “The health technology sector is a pillar of our economic diversification strategy in which the House of Biohealth plays a key role to ensure sustainable growth. Such an offer of infrastructure suitable for hosting companies in the HealthTech sector constitutes an asset in terms of attractiveness and sustainability for the national economic ecosystem. Eventually also housing an incubator, the House of Biohealth will be able to respond even better to the specific needs of start-ups and spin-offs, which will thus be able to benefit from specific support to move successfully from the world of research to the world of business".
Jean-Paul Scheuren, CEO of the House of Biohealth, added: “Thanks to the infrastructures offered by the House of Biohealth, new activities in the field of health technologies have been generated. The development of the company Fast Track Diagnostics is a real 'success story' in this context and I hope there will be many more".