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Brabant hotspot of Life Sciences & Health

Half of the total Dutch production value in Life Sciences & Health (about ten billion euros) comes from the province of North Brabant. Almost a quarter of all jobs in this sector end up in this province. Biotech in particular is growing rapidly: the number of new establishments has grown by 43% since 2014 and the number of jobs in this sector has doubled.

Brainport (Medtech) and Northeast Brabant (pharma) are the hotspots. Other top locations in the Netherlands are the Leiden and Utrecht regions.

All this is evident from the recently published study "Life Sciences & Health Sector" commissioned by the Brabant Development Agency (BOM). The more than 200 pages of the study report offer a broad picture of this sector and the role in it of Brabant's companies, campuses, knowledge institutions and governments.

"The purpose of the study is to give foreign companies a detailed overview of the Brabant Life Sciences sector, including the strengths and opportunities of our region," said BOM project leader Thijs Taminiau.

Highest production value LS&H 

Brabant is a major contributor to the production value of the Life Sciences & Health sector in the Netherlands. In 2014 (the last year for which CBS published figures), Brabant's production value in the sector exceeded 5 billion euros, more than the production value of the other 11 provinces combined.
And that success is no accident, the researchers say. "Brabant has the highest innovation intensity in the Netherlands. Total Research & Development spending in the private sector, relative to Regional Gross Domestic Product, is 2.99%: more than double the national average (1.15%). To illustrate: in Europe, Brabant ranks fifth in the list of regions with the highest number of patent applications."

18,160 jobs

Brabant has 910 registered establishments of Life Sciences & Health companies, accounting for 18,160 jobs. This is 15.6% and 23.5% of the total Dutch Life Sciences & Health sector, respectively. Philips and MSD are well-known big names within the sector, but there are also many relatively unknown names. Below are, in terms of employees, the largest LS&H companies in Brabant. These are the organizations officially marked as part of this sector. According to the BOM, there are also hundreds of other companies active in the sector, independently or as suppliers, but for administrative reasons formally fall outside the sector. Think of companies such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, VDL, Neways, Siemens, Sioux and Kulicke & Soffa.

The strength of Brabant

According to the researchers, there are 7 aspects that indicate Brabant's strength in Life Science & Health:

  • the entire value chain (see photo below)
  • the distinctive model of cooperation
  • the geographical position within Europe
  • the manufacturing industry around Biopharma and MedTech
  • the Pivot Park and High Tech Campus campuses
  • the knowledge institutions TU Eindhoven, Radboud University Nijmegen, Holst Centre and JADS
  • the MedTech cluster around Philips.

"The presence of a complete Medtech and Pharma value chain shows that Brabant has a mature and thriving LS&H sector," concludes Taminiau. "The presence of research, production and logistics, among other things, in a relatively small geographical area is something to be proud of, but above all it is an invitation to foreign companies to become part of this ecosystem."