BRUSSELS – Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Economic Development officials were joined in Belgium Thursday by leaders of public and private health sciences entities from across the state for a series of meetings with Belgian bioscience companies and research institutions. The engagements highlighted the fifth day of the governor’s economic growth and diversification mission to Europe, focusing on the energy, aerospace and life sciences sectors.
The daylong international exchange, billed as “BIO Day,” took place at the Corda Campus business park in Hasselt, Belgium, recognized worldwide as a major hub of biotech innovation. The delegation showcased Louisiana’s unique life science assets – an interconnected network of bioscience clusters, biotech incubators and academic medical research institutions in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Shreveport, Monroe and beyond – that can be leveraged for additional investment.
“Life sciences investments can not only create jobs and stimulate economic activity – they can literally save lives,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “That is why support for bioscience research and development has been a pillar of Louisiana’s economic development strategy since the early days of my administration. Louisiana’s unique assets in life sciences can provide new and exciting opportunities for established life sciences leaders in other countries. We’re grateful for our Belgian hosts’ willingness to collaborate, which has the potential for long-term positive impact.”
Joining the governor and LED officials for BIO Day activities were economic development leaders from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Shreveport Next, as well as representatives of more than a dozen life sciences entities across the state: the New Orleans BioInnovation Center; Gulf Coast Health Sciences Corridor; Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Baton Rouge Health District; Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; LSU-LCMC Health Cancer Center; Tulane University; Tulane University Medical Center; Tulane National Primate Research Center;, University of Louisiana at Lafayette; University of Louisiana Monroe; Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana; and the Center for Molecular Imaging and Therapy in Shreveport.
"Louisiana's rich cultural legacy and resilience present a vibrant backdrop for global biotech firms seeking a fertile environment for expansion," said Kris Khalil, executive director of New Orleans BioInnovation Center. "Our state is saturated with unique business opportunities and a diverse innovation ecosystem. At the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, we take pride in our cutting-edge facilities, our commitment to pioneering research, and our broad network of industry trailblazers. Representing Louisiana on this mission and reinforcing its standing as a prime destination for international biotech companies was a true privilege."
According to a recent industry snapshot by Lightcast, a global labor market analytics firm, Louisiana’s life sciences sector – comprising biomedical research, development and manufacturing – had a gross regional product of $933.3 million in 2022. That is an increase of approximately 25% since 2017, with most of that growth occurring in the last two years, as startups mature and established research and development institutions continue to grow. The state has a website dedicated to the expansion and impact of the sector at LouisianaLifeSciences.gov.
Following completion of the BIO Day program, the governor and LED Secretary Don Pierson explored Louisiana investment opportunities with Prakash Advani, Co-CEO of Group Machiels, a global operator in renewable energy, environmental management and real estate.
Gov. Edwards will discuss Belgian investment opportunities and trade activity in Louisiana with the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Michael Adler, Friday in Brussels. The governor will depart Belgium and return to Louisiana Saturday.