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Univercells S.A.. (12/17/15). "Press Release: Univercells SA Receives €466,500 ($509,500) Grant from Walloon Region to Reduce the Costs of Vaccine Manufacturing". Gosselies.

Region Region Wallonia (region)
  Country Belgium
Organisations Organisation Univercells S.A.
  Organisation 2 Wallonia (govt region)
Products Product business development (state/region)
  Product 2 contract manufacturing (biologicals)
Index term Index term Univercells–Wallonia (govt): grant, 201512 grant €466.5k from Economic Ministry to reduce costs of vaccine manufacturing
Persons Person Bultot, Hugues (Univercells 2013– CEO + Co-Founder)
  Person 2 Marcourt, Jean-Claude (Wallonia (govt) 201601 Minister for Economy, Industry, Innovation and New Technologies)

Company plans to develop a highly productive biomanufacturing platform based on the results of industrial research that the grant has funded

Univercells SA, a company that designs single-use cost-efficient bioprocess solutions for the next generation of biomanufacturing, today announces that it has received a grant from the Walloon region. Jean-Claude Marcourt, VicePresident and Minister of Economic Affairs, Industry, Innovation and Digital Economy in the Walloon government, has granted the company €466,500 ($509,500). The grant was awarded following recommendations from the DG06 Economy, Employment and Research branch. It will be used to fund part of a two-year research project, UNIVERSCALE, to reduce the cost of vaccine manufacturing. It covers 70% of the budgeted costs of the industrial research part of the project.

The UNIVERSCALE project began in 2013 and is now in its final stages, to be completed by the end of 2015. It aims to secure proof of concept for the development of an integrated and continuous inline manufacturing method for viral antigens (culture, expression and purification). The company’s goal is to reduce the cost of manufacturing vaccines by simplifying the production processes.

The grant will be paid to Univercells by the end of 2015. It is subject to certain conditions including conducting the work in the Walloon region, Univercells joint investment in the project and certain other undisclosed conditions.

“The completion of this project will see a real change of paradigm as we aim to dramatically reduce the costs of cell culture vaccine production by combining incremental innovations,” said Hugues Bultot, CEO at Univercells. “Using the results from the project, our platform will increase the availability and affordability of vaccines across the globe. We plan to increase the production capabilities in areas that are currently in deficit in the supply of much needed vaccines.”

At the end of the industrial research project, Univercells plans to deploy its own manufacturing platform and to commercialize one or two viral antigens within the next five years. It will also set up a multi-product manufacturing platform of over 400m2 within the Charleroi Brussels South Biopark in Gosselies. Production capacity should reach 10 to 50 million doses per year by 2019. The project will see more than 50 jobs created. The company foresees a mixed revenue from its viral antigen platform and multi-product platform of €10m ($11.4m ) per year by 2019.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for the Walloon region in terms of job creation and market growth,” said Jean-Claude Marcourt, Vice-President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Industry, Innovation and Digital Economy in the Walloon government. “We are thrilled to support this disruptive innovation that has potential applications worldwide. We also see the potential to attract foreign investors and customers to the area.”

“The Walloon Region is proud to support the Univercells' project”, said Michel Charlier, General Inspec-tor of the Operational Direction of Economy, Employment and Research (DGO6). “We are satisfied that the project has met our strategic objectives and the funding conditions set”.

In 2014, the Walloon region invested a total amount of €26.6m ($29m) in 44 industrial research projects.

About DG06 (Public Service of Wallonia)

DG06 Economy – Employment – Research is a branch of the Administration of Wallonia, Belgium. Through its Technology Development Department, the Walloon Region has set up several attractive incentives to boost regional innovation and research, to support companies, from start-ups to wellestablished enterprises in their way to innovation and successful development.

About Univercells

Univercells leverages manufacturing sciences to design single-use bioprocess solutions that change the rules in biomanufacturing. Univercells aims to make biologics available and affordable for all by re-inventing the way they are manufactured across the globe. The company creates value for manufacturers and healthcare systems with cost efficiency and local supply while increasing patients’ access to healthcare.

Univercells’ process integration and intensification results in a smaller footprint and unit cost that significantly reduces infrastructure investment and sales price. Its innovative approach breaks barriers to entry and allows clients to develop local bioproduction facilities, including those for biosimilars. These production units are less costly to build and to operate, while offering flexible capabilities, from small to large batches. Univercells can manage all or part of the biomanufacturing project, from design and building of manufacturing facilities to maintenance and supply of API’s bulks.

Univercells was founded in 2013 by an experienced partnership with prior entrepreneurial success; José Castillo, CTO and Hugues Bultot, CEO have more than 15 years of expertise working together in the biotechnology and life sciences sectors.

Media and Analysts Contact

Andrew Lloyd & Associates
Hillary Rock-Archer / Lise Beltzung -
Tel: +44 1273 675 100 US + 1 617 202 4491

Record changed: 2017-12-24


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