With the opening of its new pilot biotechnology center, UCB is gearing up to reinforce its biotech activity through industry-academia research and collaboration. As one of the first plants of its kind in Belgium to produce cell-culture-based therapeutic proteins, their main task will be to accelerate the availability of new biotech drug treatments for serious diseases.
Already known as the leading biopharmaceutical company focused on serious diseases of the central nervous system and immune system, UCB’s new biotechnology plant is an important milestone in its growth and development of new biological medicines and molecular development. Their research combines two approaches: the New Chemical Entities (NCE) obtained through chemical synthesis and the New Biological Entities (NBE) obtained through biotechnology based on the molecules present in the human body.
The plant will focus on developing UCB’s molecules in the research and clinical trial phases. At the same time, manufacturing processes will be designed and optimized to move from development to full scale industrial production. The facility will include multiple fermentation reactors as well as integrated laboratories and additional infrastructure to house a focused new production team. The 51-hectaresite in Braine-l’Alleud comprises 18 buildings designated to specific sections including 800 m2 of laboratories and four bioreactors with a total capacity of 3,200 liters.
The new plant will allow UCB to be better equipped for the future by strengthening its capacity in the biotechnology sector and allowing them to deliver to the growing demand for biological medicines. By implementing a forward-thinking approach to further develop molecules designed to ultimately result in innovative drugs, their aim is to satisfy the needs of certain patients that have yet to be fulfilled.
The €65 Million investment in the site creates a wonderful infrastructure as well as future opportunities for the region. UCB, classified as the largest Belgian investor in research and development across all industries, clearly advocates the proactive policy followed by Belgium and its regions to stimulate pharmaceutical activity, collaboratively with the presence of a high level of expertise. This endeavor is not only favorable from the investment standpoint but is proving favorable for the region in that it plans to hire a staff of one hundred employees, many of whom will have received high levels of training.
In keeping with its strategy, UCB seems to have smoothly shifted into first gear in its preparation to meet the growing demand of biological medicines.