As the foundation for the new Walloon Cell Therapy Platform* begins to set in Gosselies, Belgium an exciting new development for Wallonia gets underway. The platform, unique in this sector, will provide Wallonia with a new and particularly innovative high-tech cluster to respond to the development needs of the growing number of cell therapy companies in Belgium.
Support for the platform has been received from the Walloon Region and Sambrinvest, which will contribute to the industrial renewal of the region, and two private cell therapy companies, Promethera Biosciences and Bone Therapeutics, which envision production of their medicines in the new premises from 2015.
Construction of the unique Walloon Cell Therapy Platform at the new Aéropole site in Gosselies, Belgium is an exciting step forward for the entire region. “The Walloon Region, via the Marshall Plan and the BioWin competitiveness cluster, has already made major investments to create and support innovation in companies active in cell therapy. Over €40 million of funding has been devoted to this sector since 2005. A new step has been taken today with the establishment of a public-private partnership, aiming to build a platform dedicated to cell therapy”, commented Mr J.-C. Marcourt, Vice President and Minister of the Economy, SMEs, Foreign Trade and New Technologies of the Walloon Region. The €20 million investment financed by the public-private partnership between the Walloon Region, Sofipôle and Sambrinvest, and private cell therapy companies Bone Therapeutics and Promethera Biosciences (both set to begin their activities on site once the premises are operational), will allow large-scale production of cell therapy medicines. This platform also constitutes towards the national and international development of these two innovative companies, and will support other cell therapy companies to eventually establish their activities and join the platform.
SISE (Société d’Infrastructures, de Services et d’Energies) will be taking responsibility for the construction and management of the new platform and will supply all shared services to the companies on site: infrastructure, energy, water and logistics. The new facilities will comprise almost 2000m2 of state-of-the-art clean rooms for production and 1,300m2 for research and quality control. “These facilities will produce more than 5,000 drug batches a year at maximum capacity”, said Anne Prignon, Chair of SISE. In addition, the Walloon Cell Therapy Platform is also expecting to create roughly one hundred direct jobs and an additional two hundred indirect jobs through outsourcing over the next two years. Bone Therapeutics, specialised in innovative cell therapy products for the treatment of bone diseases, and Promethera Biosciences, specialised in the treatment of liver diseases will be the first two companies to use this unique platform (expected from 2015).
Both companies have expressed great enthusiasm for the project recognising the advantages it will provide in order to meet specific needs. Enrico Bastianelli, CEO of Bone Therapeutics described, “We are now at a stage where our production capacity must increase to industrial scale and we look forward to moving all our operations to these cutting-edge, high-tech premises”. CEO of Promethera Biosciences, Eric Halioua commented, “We are delighted to participate in this project, that has been made possible by the Walloon Region, which has supported us from the outset. This partnership allows us to pool resources and increase efficiency while respecting each company’s know-how and intellectual property.”
Nevertheless, the platform has been designed to allow for expansion and to serve additional cell therapy companies. The platform will act as a hub to catalyze the establishment of cell therapy companies in Wallonia with a uniqueness that lies in its adaptability and potential for development. Jean-Marc Nollet, Vice President and Minister for Sustainable Development, Public Administration and Energy, Housing and Research in the Walloon Region highlighted, “We would like to stress that this initiative will make it possible to develop [even] more research capacity in cell therapy in Wallonia, which is already at the forefront in this field”, and further explained, “It will allow new companies to emerge in this area since they will be able to use the services and infrastructures made available by this platform”.
A novel display of how partnerships are providing promise for Wallonia!
*Walloon Cell Therapy Platform: The Walloon Cell Therapy Platform was founded around SISE, a real public-private partnership, which builds and manages infrastructures common to all the players and which owns extra land to welcome other cell therapy companies that may eventually wish to establish themselves on the site.
Plateforme Wallonne de Thérapie Cellulaire (Walloon Cell Therapy Platform): Christiane Verhaegen, Director, SISE
Tel: +32 (0) 2 529 58 25
Bone Therapeutics :
Enrico Bastianelli, CEO
Tel : +32(0)2 529 59 90
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +32(0)10 394 300
E-mail : email@example.com