Bone Therapeutics holds successful event to highlight strength of cell and gene therapy in Wallonia
Gosselies, Belgium, January 28, 2019, 8pm CET - BONE THERAPEUTICS (Euronext Brussels and Paris: BOTHE), the bone cell therapy company addressing high unmet medical needs in orthopaedics and bone diseases, held an event at its headquarters this evening to highlight the growing contribution made by cell therapy to the Belgian biotechnology sector and to provide a broader update on the current sector environment.
Over the past decade, the biopharmaceutical industry in Belgian has significantly increased its contribution to the Belgian economy, employing a total of 28,294 people (1), ranking Belgium in the top 10 most innovative countries in the pharmaceutical sector and second in the top 10 European pharmaceutical exporters (2).
One sector of the biopharmaceutical industry stands out in particular: cell and gene therapy. Belgium now boasts several pioneers in cell and gene therapy, including Bone Therapeutics, Celyad, eTherRNA, Novadip, Promethera, TiGenix and other supporting companies such as Delphi Genetics, MaSTherCell and Ncardia,
With 80 clinical trials in cell or gene therapy products taking place between 2012 and 2018 and over 90 patent applications filed in the last ten years, Belgium has become a key hub for clinical development in cell and gene therapy.
“In few years’ time, cell therapy has become a key focal point for Belgian biopharmaceutical industry. Belgium has a leading position in this field and is recognised worldwide for its excellence. I am very proud of Bone Therapeutics' contribution to this growth, which will result in the launch of two new advanced clinical trials in 2019,” said Thomas Lienard, Chief Executive Officer of Bone Therapeutics.
Financial support from the Walloon Region and SRIW
This thriving biotech ecosystem has benefited significantly from the support of the Walloon Region, an important source of funding for the sector. Over the past three years, the Walloon Region has provided Bone Therapeutics with non-dilutive financial support of around €7.60 million in the form of recoverable advances to finance important research and development programmes. The Walloon Region's total cumulative aid for research since the creation of Bone Therapeutics in 2006 amounts to €27.2 million.
The Société Régionale d'Investissement de Wallonie (SRIW), including Sofipole, one of its subsidiaries, has invested a cumulative amount of €8.8 million in Bone Therapeutics. Added to the other equity investments made by the SRIW group into other cell therapy companies (Promethera, Celyad, Ncardia and Novadip), the total amount invested amounts to €31.9 million.
The Walloon Minister of Economy and Research, Pierre-Yves Jeholet, who attended the event, added: “The Walloon Government is pleased to support the biopharmaceutical sector, a flagship sector synonymous with excellence in our region, which allows Wallonia to be an export leader in this field and actively contributes to our economic development. This is further evidenced by the grant of funding by the Region for the extension of the Biopark, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2019, and which has succeeded in becoming a recognised ecosystem at a European level for biotechnology. Research and innovation are areas of great importance and we must continue to support innovative companies, such as Bone Therapeutics.”
During the event, Bruno Colmant, Head of Macro Research at Bank Degroof Petercam, discussed the macroeconomic environment, the role played by public authorities in the development of high value-added companies and the impact of advanced technologies.
Professor Marc Jayankura (Erasmus Hospital - ULB) explained the difficulties encountered by patients, the current scientific limits and the advantages of cell therapy.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bone Therapeutics, Jean Stéphenne, closed the presentations with a call for co-ordination and collaboration to maximise the key scientific strengths in the region: “To accelerate the development of cell therapy in Belgium, I consider it essential to strengthen collaborations between all the players in the sector and to pool resources with a common goal: to advance scientific research.”
(1) Employment statistics Belgian National Social Security Office (Office national de Sécurité sociale, ONSS - Statistiques décentralisées), 30 June 2017
(2) Source: Pharma.be