The Wallonia ministers Jean-Claude Marcourt and Jean-Marc Nollet, together with the heads of two companies specialised in cell therapy have recently laid the cornerstone of the future Walloon cell therapy platform in Gosselies (Charleroi).
The project stems from the needs of three cell therapy companies identified several years ago. To pursue their development, they wanted to benefit from a joint structure, based on shared costs, but with each company retaining a wide degree of autonomy.
As a reminder, cell therapy consists in using healthy cells as a medicine to replace diseased cells.
Two of the three companies consulted have finally decided to adhere to the project: Bone Therapeutics (Brussels Free University) and Promethera Biosciences (Catholic University of Louvain). They are specialised respectively in bone diseases and the treatment of liver pathologies.
Some 20 million euros, contributed thanks to a public-private partnership (40-60%), will be needed to build the new buildings, which will be equipped with almost 2,000 square metres of clean rooms for the production of cells.
The structure will enable the two companies to achieve a critical mass beyond which sub-contractors may be tempted to collaborate. “Training sessions can be organised and economies of scale can be achieved”, states Eric Halioua, CEO of Promethera Biosciences.
The two companies currently employ around a hundred people. The new structure could help to create around a hundred additional jobs over the next few years.