HE:AL Campus: Luxembourg’s Global HealthTech Hub

The HE:AL’s launch date is scheduled for 2024 (Photo © Luxembourg Ministry of Economy)

During the IASP World Conference recently held in Luxembourg, Jean-Paul Scheuren, the administrator of the HE:AL Campus, talked about Luxembourg’s ambitions regarding innovative health solutions and how the country wants to become a world-class health science hub within the next decade.

From 12 to 15 September, the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) held its 40th IASP World Conference on Science Parks and Areas of Innovation in Luxembourg. The event was hosted by Technoport, a Luxembourg technology business incubator based in Belval.

IASP is a global network for science parks innovation districts and other areas of innovation.

IASP’s 2023 World Conference was dedicated to Megatrends in Innovation Ecosystems and their impacts on Science and Technology Parks (STP) and Areas of Innovations (AOIs).

Jean-Paul Scheuren, the administrator of the HE:AL Campus, talked about the vision and ambition of Luxembourg of thriving innovative health solutions.

The future Health and Advanced Lifescience Campus is a HealthTech accelerator and living lab dedicated to start-ups and companies.

The site of 2.4 hectares will be based in Esch-sur Alzette. It will be an extension of the House of BioHealth (20,000 sqm), which was built in 2020 with the ambition to become a science park within the next decade. Scheuren is also the CEO of the House of BioHealth.

““We need to create attractive conditions for future medical doctors.”

Jean-Paul Scheuren, administration of the HE:AL Campus

Five megatrends

“Our healthcare system is facing major challenges today,” the keynote speaker warned during the conference. “If we want it to survive, it needs to be changed,”

Among these challenges, Scheuren sees five megatrends, which are impacting the healthcare ecosystem:

The first one is the approach to diagnosis and therapy. “This approach to medicine is not based on specialization anymore. It has now become more holistic and systemic,” he explained. “For that, we need collaboration and digitalization”.

Second megatrend: Medicine is now getting more Predictive, Preventive, Personalized, and Participative. “This four P-approach to medicine will position the patient at the center,” he said.

Third megatrend: Transnational research and medicine – from bed to bench to bedside again – will bring every innovation to the patient. “For that, we need to innovate faster as we are still too slow!”, he added. “The sector is becoming more data-driven and needs more data.”

Fourth megatrend: New financing models will pay for performance models. “Luxembourg has a strong expertise in finance and can therefore contribute to financing our healthcare system,” he continued “But we need to change our view of how to finance the healthcare sector in the future”.

Fifth megatrend: The need for an affordable healthcare system.

Making Luxembourg a unique health hub

For Jean-Paul Scheuren, Luxembourg can position itself as a major player in innovative medicine.

The main opportunities, he sees, to achieve this ambition are: the ideal size of the country and its position in the center of the Greater Region; its good financial backbone for its healthcare system; the CNS (Caisse nationale de santé, or National Health Fund) as a major actor and central institute; and the support of both its ministry of Health and ministry of the Economy.

“The economic potential and impacts for Luxembourg are huge,” he continued. “Our view is to develop a unique health hub with a strong focus on healthtech. And to make the country a European landing point for innovative medicine and financing methods as well as a gate to Europe’s digital health market”.

How to achieve these? “We need to create attractive conditions for future medical doctors,” Scheuren answered. “Through first-in-class treatment for Luxembourg’s patients, by connecting hospitals to research and by making Luxembourg a lab for European expansion for new treatments and financing methods,” he detailed.

Jean-Paul Scheuren talked then about the “Health Valley, Luxembourg”, an ecosystem he described as a network including four main hospitals and healthcare actors, first-in-class research institutes, interdisciplinary centers, Innovative initiatives, IT infrastructures such as the Meluxina HPC, Tier 3 data centers and around 140 private companies.

“This ecosystem can be scaled and triggered,” he said. “And we can take advantage of these opportunities: by creating an integrated platform combined with research, healthcare and health economics; by bringing all our ambitions together; by building a campus dedicated to digital health and personalized medicine; and by combining the finance and health sectors”.

HE:AL Campus Master Plan Unveiled

HE:AL Campus a world-class science park

Furthermore, the CEO of The House of BioHealth detailed the ambition of Luxembourg to make the HE:AL Campus a world-class science park.

“Our mission is to provide a unique, interlinked, data-driven and healthy campus,” he explained. “So that innovative companies and their talents can thrive and create next-generation solutions that improve human health.”

“Our vision is to make it a globally recognized and interconnected campus where data-driven companies thrive,” he added.

Moreover, Scheuren sees the HE:AL as an “economic development catalyst”, aiming to be a living laboratory for companies specialized in personalized medicine and an accelerator for startups with a focus on digital health technologies.

“It will also be a facilitator of innovative business models for private and public health financing, as well as a platform to host major companies active in digital health, AI, mHealth, deep learning and predictive analytics,” he continued.

Roadmap 2024-2036

HE:AL remains a piece of land today. Its architecture and urban planning were announced on 16 September 2023. Its construction will start during Q1 2024. The first HE:AL building is expected for 2026.

In 2031, HE:AL will be “a commercial success. It will be known beyond Luxembourg. Collaborations will be the key drivers of the regional and European health tech developments,” Scheuren concluded. “And by 2036 the campus will be an internationally recognized epicenter for Health tech and for the European market.”

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