The Collen-Francqui Fund


Baron Désiré Collen
is a physician and chemist by training and an emeritus professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. His research focuses primarily on molecular biology, thrombolysis, the study of hemostasis, and genetic technology.

In 1979, Professor Collen discovered the role of the molecule “tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA)” in the treatment of thrombosis, particularly in heart attacks and strokes. He protected this invention through a patent via KULR&D, the technology transfer organization of KULeuven. They granted a license to the American company Genentech, capable of producing a recombinant version of tPA. This medication was subsequently successfully marketed as a life-saving drug to dissolve blood clots in patients with a heart attack or stroke.


Mid-2015, Professor Collen founded the Désiré Collen Foundation, through which he provided co-financing for the establishment of Fund+, aimed at investing in promising Belgian companies in the life sciences sector.


Concerned about the future of the next generations in our country, Professor Collen shaped a vision to create opportunities for promising scientific top talent, as well as by providing a substantial contribution to the Francqui Foundation. Thus, in 2017, the Collen-Francqui Fund was established with the aim of financing all biomedical activities of the Foundation. Among these activities are the two trisannual Francqui-Collen Prizes ; one in fundamental biomedical research, and the other one in clinical translational research (the latter has been first awarded in 2020).