Jo Bury is managing director of VIB, the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology. VIB is a life science research institute where 1.500 scientists and technicians study the molecular mechanisms of growth and development of different organisms (human beings, plants, micro-organisms) in normal (health) vs abnormal (disease, stress) conditions. The focus is strategic basic research with potential applications (in the long term) in molecular medicine and molecular farming. VIB is a multisite institution, integrated within the campuses of the universities of Ghent, Leuven, Brussels, Antwerp and Hasselt, based on a joint venture agreement of VIB with these 5 partner universities. Through the performance of its scientists, VIB has become a center of excellence in life science research in Europe.
Through its technology transfer activities VIB promotes the translation of its research results into products for the benefit of the consumer and the patient and contributes to new economic activity. This activity results in research collaboration and licence agreements with industry worldwide, based on knowledge, technology and intellectual property, produced at VIB. In addition VIB actively develops technology platforms and asset portfolios as a basis for starting up new biotech companies in the close proximity of its research centers. VIB start-up companies include a.o. Ablynx, Devgen, CropDesign, Multiplicom, ActoGenix (now Intrexon), Pronota (now Mycartis), Q-Biologicals, Agrosavfe, Confotherapeutics, Orionis Biosciences, Oncurious, Aphea.bio, Global Yeast and Aelin Therapeutics. These companies employ about 800 employees in Flanders. In 2015 VIB was co-founder of the VIB-linked venture capital fund VIBIO (76 M€). Moreover, due to an innovative biotech ecosystem, foreign biotech companies are attracted to the biotech cluster in Flanders (e.g. Biocartis, Argenix, Oxyrane, Octimet, Toku-E, Yakult, …) employing another 650 employees in Flanders. VIB pro-actively communicates about life science research and its biotechnology applications to a wide audience in Flanders and beyond.
Jo Bury has a Master’s degree in Pharmacy and is PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (University of Gent). He obtained an MBA degree at the Vlerick School for Management in Gent. After performing scientific research in the field of atherosclerosis during several years, he has made a career in science policy. He previously held the post of Operational Director of VLAB (Flanders’ Action Programme on Biotechnology) and science advisor at federal and regional granting bodies (IWONL-INSIA, IWT).
Outside VIB Jo Bury has been a board member of different life science-related companies and research endeavours, such as Seghers Genetics and Nutrition NV, Vitamex NV, Oystershell NV and Temasek Life Sciences Laboratories (Singapore); he was also chairman of the Review Committee of the Horizon Programme of the NGI (the Netherlands’ Genomics Initiative). Moreover he was SAB member of Genome Quebec (Canada) and board member of Hercules. Now he is a board member and chair of NERF (Centre for neuro-electronic research Flanders), founder and board member of EU-Life, member of the FRWB (Federale Raad voor Wetenschapsbeleid) and chair of the international research advisory board of ORCIM (the Orpheus Research Centre in Music). In addition he has become member of the GIGA Board of Counselors, board member of FWO (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek) and member of the advisory board AZ Zeno. Recently he has become IAB member of IIMCB (Budapest), HCEMM (Warschau) and the IGC (Lissabon).