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Europe’s first cell therapy manufacturing site in Flanders

A new European production center for cell therapy will soon be constructed in Flanders – more specifically at the Tech Lane Ghent Science Park. The commissioning party is none other than Janssen Pharmaceutica, which is part of American pharma juggernaut Johnson & Johnson. To develop the new production facilities, the firm is working together with Legend Biotech, a clinical-stage biopharma firm specialized in the development of cell therapies for oncology and other indications. The new site will be Janssen Pharmaceutica’s first cell therapy production center in Europe. 

The project’s main mission is to enable future manufacturing and delivery of cell therapy for the treatment of cancer. The new site is scheduled to be operational by 2023.

Brainpower is Flanders’ most important raw material, and biotech is one of our main flagships. That’s why I am very pleased that Flanders will be home to Europe’s first production site for cell therapy. This project puts the international spotlight on our region for all the right reasons.

Jan Jambon
Minister-President of Flanders

The power of cell therapy

A new approach to eradicate cancer cells, cell therapy focuses on harnessing the power of a patient’s own immune system. In one specific form, called CAR T-therapy, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells are derived from a patient’s T-cells and engineered to eliminate cancer cells. To produce CAR-T therapies, blood cells are collected from a patient and used as a basis to manufacture a therapeutic product that acts as a personalized medicine.

This exciting development is an important milestone in Janssen’s commitment to bringing innovative medicines to patients. It demonstrates our continued commitment to R&D and production in Europe, Belgium and Flanders as a region.

Kris Sterkens
company group chairman at Janssen EMEA and managing director at Janssen Pharmaceutica

European pharma valley

The choice to build the new cell therapy manufacturing in Flanders is no coincidence. The local life sciences ecosystem has been considered a world-class biopharma hub as well as a European pharma valley for many years. It is home to one of the world’s leading advanced therapy clusters, with well-connected, local end-to-end capabilities in terms of supply chain and manufacturing.

Within and beyond this life sciences ecosystem, Janssen Pharmaceutica is one of the most prominent biopharma players. The company has over 5,000 local employees, 2,400 of which are scientists working at the company’s site in Beerse, Flanders. What’s more, yearly, Janssen Pharmaceutica invests EUR 1.5 billion in R&D and innovation

The decision to build the new European manufacturing site for cell therapy in Flanders pays testimony to the strong local life sciences ecosystem, which continues to be highly regarded within the global life sciences environment.

Sonja Willems
managing director of Janssen-Cilag Benelux

Local assets for the innovative win

The development and production of transformative therapies, such as CAR T-cell therapy, requires great innovative power and strong collaboration ties. In that sense, Janssen Pharmaceutica’s decision to set up the new manufacturing site in Flanders is an obvious choice, too. “By picking this location, we will benefit from Janssen’s significant scientific and manufacturing presence and expertise as well as from the strong existing local expertise, infrastructure and talent base,” concludes Sonja Willems, managing director of Janssen-Cilag Benelux and chair of the Flanders Investment & Trade board of directors.

More info

Janssen Pharmaceutica
Reported by
Janssen Pharmaceutica
22 June 2021

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