Univercells plans to develop a continuous, single-use biomanufacturing platform, and is setting up a facility in Belgium.
Univercells SA, a company that designs single-use bioprocess solutions, received a grant from the Walloon region of Belgium to fund part of a two-year research project that aims to reduce the cost of vaccine manufacturing, the company announced on Dec. 17, 2015. The €466,500 ($509,500) grant will cover 70% of the budgeted costs of the industrial research part of the project and is subject to certain conditions, including conducting the work in the Walloon region.
The Universcale project began in 2013 and is now in its final stages, to be completed by the end of 2015, the company said in a press release. It aims to secure proof of concept for the development of an integrated and continuous in-line 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 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, in a press release. “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.”
Univercells plans to deploy its own manufacturing platform and to commercialize one or two viral antigens within the next five years. The company will set up a multi-product manufacturing platform of over 400 m2 within the Charleroi Brussels South Biopark in Gosselies, where it currently runs a laboratory. Production capacity should reach 10 to 50 million doses per year by 2019.