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Resident in the spotlight: BioStrand (IPA)

To overview

“Grateful that BioVille exists.”

BioStrand operates within the Bio-IT and focuses on so-called ‘omics data’: DNA, RNA, and proteins. Their mission is simple but ambitious: to better structure data for more efficient application and tangible results. Due to a recent acquisition, the company is currently at a tipping point.

One would not expect to find a good ol’ family business leading the way in the Bio-IT industry, but that’s exactly how BioStrand got started. Physicians Ingrid Brands and Dirk van Hyfte decided to put their jobs on hold and founded BioStrand together. Dirk had made an early switch to computer sciences, where the idea of structuring genetic data in a better way sprouted.

Dinner table

“In a way, you could say the idea grew at the dinner table.” explains son Arnout van Hyfte. Today Arnout is putting his full weight into pulling the business ahead. “Although it wasn’t my field of expertise initially, I joined the company out of interest. In a small setup, you have to wear many hats: I helped with the patents, business plans, marketing, sales, and fundraising. Today my role is ‘product and platform development’.”

BioStrand built a new algorithm capable of collecting and enriching omics data with patient data and other relevant data such as functions and diseases. They can perform smart searches and run AI machine learning on the platform.

“This way, one can predict whether a variant is more pathogenic, can lead to cancer, what the function of a certain protein or gene might be, etcetera. What’s great is that everything is in one system. As a result, it works more efficiently and effectively than anything we know today.”


Data doesn’t necessarily sound ‘sexy.’ Yet BioStrand produces extremely relevant work that leads to valuable results, such as discovering new drugs and treatments.

“It’s exactly this I find fascinating: what seems to lack tangibility at first glance turns out to have very practical implications. You can eventually test it in a tube and prove its benefits. What were once just a set of binaries: mere ones and zeros, eventually become very tangible.”

“To paint a picture: think of us as a crossbreed between a lab technician and a software programmer. The beauty of our framework: we’ve found data elements that are specific enough for the lab technician, and we have enough of them to make it useful for the data analyst as well.”

Tipping point

BioStrand is leaving the ‘small scale structure’ of the early days in its rearview mirror and shifting to a higher gear. With the recent takeover by a large Canadian corporation, the company is now at a tipping point, bringing about new opportunities and challenges.

“For us, that translates to expanding our team. But the main challenge remains rolling out our technology more broadly, with the difference of now being able to hitch a ride with a larger organization and its corresponding customer portfolio. Personally, I see an exciting challenge within the world of antibodies and immunology in which we are now fully catapulted.”

BioStrand in BioVille? This choice of residency is no coincidence: “The geographical location is convenient and the proximity to Hasselt University very relevant. It is the ideal place to grow, and we do that here very organically. Moreover, the infrastructure is ideal; we are extremely grateful that Bioville exists.”

Want to know more about BioStrand? Take a look on their website!

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