After acquiring the Walloon biotechs MaSTherCell, Bone Therapeutics and Delphi Genetics, the American pharmaceutical group Catalent is taking over the cell therapy manufacturing subsidiary of Promethera Biosciences, also in Gosselies. Clearly attracted by the quality of the Walloon eco-system in gene and cell therapy, Catalent Pharma has confirmed its intention to make the Charleroi Biopark its centre of excellence in Europe. 200 new jobs have already been announced.
The acquisition includes Promethera's 3,000 square meter facility in Gosselies that will house Catalent's new commercial-scale plasmid DNA (pDNA) manufacturing facility. However, Promethera will retain its headquarters in Mont-Saint-Guibert, where a new company, Promethera Therapeutics, has been created.
Catalent will also offer commercial-scale pDNA production capabilities at its Rockville, Maryland facility in the United States.
"Promethera is delighted to move its HCTS facility to Catalent, as well as its new strategy of focusing its business on its core experience and its innovative approach that uses advanced therapies to restore liver health in patients with life-threatening liver disease," said Professor Etienne Sokal, President of Promethera.
This succession of acquisitions has made Catalent a major player in the Charleroi science park in less than a year and a half. First MaSTherCell in early 2020, a pharmaceutical outsourcing company for $315 million. Then the production subsidiary of Bone Therapeutics (cell therapy drugs) at the end of October 2020 for 12 million euros. And lastly, at the end of February 2021, Delphi Genetics, which produces plasmid DNA, the basis of all gene therapies that can be used to treat many genetic diseases, produce CAR-Ts (immunotherapy) to fight cancer or even vaccines like some of those for against Covid-19.
This fifth acquisition is part of the group's strategy to make Gosselies its European research and development centre for gene and cell therapies, which are expanding rapidly.
"Plasmid DNA production is a critical component for many biological therapies, including viral vectors, mRNA and cell therapies," said Manja Boerman, President of Catalent Cell & Gene Therapy. "The Centre of Excellence we have established in Belgium brings together experience and expertise on a single campus, enabling key synergies that will better support our customers."
With a turnover of more than 3 billion dollars, the Catalent group employs 15,000 people worldwide and has announced the creation of more than 200 technical, scientific and operational jobs in Charleroi over the next five years, for the Promethera installation alone. According to L'Echo, this figure could double if we take into account the further development of Delphi Genetics and the former MaSTtherCell, which is located in another 6,000 m³ building on the Gosselies site.
Source : L’Echo