Brussels, 28 Feb 2005
The Dutch government is to fund a new centre, unique in Europe, to provide facilities and expertise for the development and production of new biopharmaceutical products.
The BioConnection initiative, a novel public-private collaboration with a total investment of 15 million euro, aims to offer young biopharmaceutical companies a 'one-stop shop', with the use of dedicated and centralised production facilities.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that do not have their own production facilities will be able to turn to BioConnection for small-scale clinical as well as large-scale commercial productions.
'In addition, they will be able to obtain expertise in the area of development and production, both for active biopharmaceutical ingredients and biopharmaceutical end products, because BioConnection will afford them access to a network of suppliers of knowledge and services,' states the multinational pharmaceutical company, Organon, one of the partners in the project that will make some of its facilities available.
Market Research commissioned by the Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Mibition Foundation (aimed at stimulating the use of innovative equipment and facilities in the field of the life sciences), showed that pharmaceutical start-ups have a need for quick, flexible and cost-effective facilities where biopharmaceutical products can be produced on a small scale.
'Hundreds of, frequently young, companies in Europe work on the development of new pharmaceutical products. As they get closer to the market the need for production capacity increases,' explains Organon. 'The lack of such facilities was until now a restraint on the development of the biopharmaceutical sector and on new drugs. The new centre satisfies this need. It has ultramodern installations at its disposal that meet all safety and production requirements for the manufacture of medicines. Here, companies can have their products made on various scales,' it adds.
In line with the Dutch government innovation policy and its 2004 Life Sciences Action Plan, this initiative aims to stimulate start-ups in the field of biotechnology. The government's strategy is based on stimulating growth through market-driven investments in high-quality production facilities and knowledge network rather than giving subsidies to individual companies. It is hoped BioConnection, which will be based in Oss, will strengthen the Dutch life sciences infrastructure, and make the Netherlands more attractive for new companies.
'This is a good example of how a multinational can have great added value for start-up companies,' said Onno Hoes, Deputy for Economic Affairs in the province of North Brabant, where Oss is situated. 'Sharing knowledge is essential for new activities and thus for the economy.'