Via Nova: a new path for equine treatment

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Offering innovative technology in a brand-new centre requires significant investments. PMV has been instrumental in bringing those around.

Jan Spaas, co-founder Via Nova

A new equine clinic in Bree opened in 2019 that is committed to innovative regenerative treatments. In addition, founders Marc Suls, Jan Spaas and Sarah Broeckx also intend to conduct research and train young vets at the centre. The new equine centre came about partly thanks to a loan and a guarantee from PMV.

Flanders is a top region in international equestrian sports. The horse business in Belgium accounts for €3.3 billion in turnover, of which €2.5 billion in Flanders, and employs 30,000 people. Well-known international names also find their way to Belgium. Microsoft founder Bill Gates bought a Flemish jumping mare for his daughter at a stud farm in Kempen. But top horses are not exempt from injuries either. And a top horse that is not fit cannot compete or be sold on: the financial consequences of a sick horse are heavy.


Injury prevention and innovative treatments can therefore be very profitable. Flanders also enjoys a very good reputation in this area with a number of very decent equine clinics. Recently, a brand-new centre was added in Bree: Via Nova. In Via Nova – ‘the new road’ – VIA stands for Veterinary Innovation Alliance. The medical treatments used there by the founders are innovative. Suls, Spaas and Broeckx are all three veterinarians and have very extensive experience. Marc Suls coached several top sport horses around the world over the past 30 years, while the couple Jan Spaas and Sarah Broeckx did pioneering work in drug research. In 2018, they entered into a partnership with German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim for their osteoarthritis drug based on stem cell therapy.

A first

In 2019, Via Nova picked up an innovative first: the veterinary clinic used 3D augmented-reality glasses for equine surgery for the first time. A hologram based on a CT scan taken just before surgery is projected onto the surgeon’s 3D glasses during surgery, allowing him to work very precisely. Jan Spaas says: “The technology helps us bring very complex operations to a successful conclusion. We want to do this even more in the future in cooperation with veterinarians and clinics from all over the world to exchange knowledge.”

Risk spreading

The new centre in Bree contains four departments – orthopaedics, surgery, imaging and rehabilitation – that guarantee the best cutting-edge treatments. All departments work with top equipment, such as, for example, the only CT scan in Belgium with an extra-large aperture specifically for equine imaging. A team of experienced partners and other professionals runs the hospital. On top of the subordinated loan from a private investor, PMV diversified its financing resources by bringing in a Cofinancing+ and guaranteeing a bank loan. Partly as a result, Via Nova was able to secure a number of large investment loans from the bank. Jan Spaas is delighted with PMV’s financing combination: “Offering innovative technology in a brand new centre requires significant investments. PMV has been instrumental in getting that done. The new centre further highlights Belgium’s international reputation as a horse country.”

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