Updated on 22 May 2012
The Dutch life sciences and health industry is in a unique position to develop such innovations, as it hosts a unique cluster of world-class research institutes, universities, leading multinational companies and entrepreneurial start-ups working towards marketable innovations through public private partnerships.
Dutch companies are leaders in plant and farm animal breeding. In biomedical sciences, the Dutch excel in areas such as cancer research, infectious diseases, vaccines, molecular imaging, cardiovascular and clinical research. Other areas include agriculture, food (dairy, functional food, nutraceuticals), the environment (water sanitation) and fermentation. This prominence is due to its productive R&D base and integrated approach to innovation with main focus on white biotechnology with applications in industrial production, and red biotechnology with applications in healthcare.
This conducive R&D environment has resulted in world-class expertise in five disease and therapeutic areas: cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, neurosciences, oncology and auto-immune diseases. The Netherlands is also very strong in medical technology.
The life sciences and health industry is one of the priority sectors of the Dutch government and agreements have been made with the industry and knowledge institutes on cooperation and co-investment in research in areas such as molecular diagnostics, imaging and image-guided therapies, and regenerative medicine.
The Netherlands has been investing in vaccines' capability and Indian companies have partnered with Dutch companies for the purpose. Do you have similar plans for China?
Ms Rancuret: Dutch vaccine companies and institutes are already collaborating with India in the research and development of vaccines for neglected diseases such as malaria, chikungunya, influenza and cancer.
The life sciences and health industry in the Netherlands is focused on the international markets. More than 60 percent of Dutch life sciences companies import things needed for their operations, including enabling technologies (in the form of patents and licences), raw materials, reagents and other chemicals, and laboratory equipment. And 67 percent of Dutch life sciences companies work together with other companies and knowledge centers abroad.