Hugo Van Heuverswyn

Hugo Van Heuverswyn

Hugo Van Heuverswyn

CEO - BioMARIC

Hugo Van Heuverswyn is a Belgian molecular biologist, biotech pioneer, entrepreneur and businessman. 

 

He obtained a PhD in molecular biology in 1978 in the group of Prof. Walter Fiers, a first-tier pioneer in the field of modern biotechnology, in whose laboratory Hugo and his colleagues realized the first ever decoding of a complete viral DNA genome (SV40). In the subsequent period 1979 – 1981 he was appointed visiting professor at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, where he established, together with Dr. Carlos Morel, the first DNA sequencing laboratory in Latin America.

After his return to Belgium in 1981, he was invited to set up Biogent, a Belgian subsidiary of Biogen (one of the very first biotech companies worldwide), to pursue the molecular cloning of TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) and other cytokines, a new class of biomolecules which at that time had just started to be discovered, but soon revolutionized the field of immunology. In 1985, he managed to establish INNOGENETICS, together with Eric Tambuyzer and Rudy Mariën (as lead private investor), at a time that venture capital was still non-existing in Belgium. Hugo continued to serve as CEO and board member till 2000, two years after INNX became the first biotech company quoted on EASDAQ in 1998 (a new European stock exchange for growth companies) and had grown to over 700 employees, had filed numerous patents, had put more than 50 highly innovative IVD products in the market and realized a yearly turnover of over 50 million euro.

In 2001 Hugo founded, together with Drs Maan Zrein and Eric Saman, a new Belgian biotech start-up (BioMARIC) active in prevention and control of infectious diseases.

 

In addition to his private activities, Hugo was also strongly involved in the creation of a high-level biotechnology ecosystem in Flanders. During 18 years, from its inception in 1995 till 2013, he was Chairman of the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology (VIB), during which period he created flanders.bio (2003), the association of Flemish biotech companies where he is still serving as a board member, and co-founded Flanders Vaccine (2021), a non - for - profit organization aiming to stimulate the translation of basic research into clinical applications in the field of vaccination and immunotherapy. 

At present, in addition to running his private companies, he is mainly involved in preparing new start-ups focusing on translational research, One Health and personalized medicine, particularly in the field of infection & immunity.

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