As the foundation for the new Walloon Cell Therapy Platform begins to set in Gosselies, Wallonia gets excited about this new development. The platform, unique in this sector, will provide Wallonia with an innovative high-tech cluster to respond to the developing needs of the growing number of cell therapy companies in Belgium. The Walloon Region and Sambrinvest, which want to contribute to the industrial renewal of the region, support the platform and also 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 is an important 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 with the establishment of a public-private partnership, aiming to build a platform dedicated to cell therapy”, commented Mr. 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 will allow large-scale production of cell therapy medicines. This platform encourages the national and international development of Promethera and Bone Therapeutics and supports other cell therapy companies to establish their activities and join the platform.
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 (Société d’Infrastructures, de Services et d’Energies). 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.
Enrico Bastianelli, CEO of Bone Therapeutics is enthousiastic: “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 adds: “We are delighted to participate in this project."
This partnership allows us to pool resources and increase efficiency while respecting each company’s know-how and intellectual property.”
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. “We would like to stress that this initiative facilitates the expansion of the cell therapy research capacity in Wallonia even more, which is already at the forefront in this field”, highlights Jean-Marc Nollet, Vice President and Minister for Sustainable Development, Public Administration and Energy, Housing and Research in the Walloon Region.
It will allow new companies to emerge in this area since they will be able to use the services and infrastructures provided by this platform.