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Grandpharma sets up at Incubator Darwin (Flanders)

Situated at the Science Park University of Antwerp in Flanders, Incubator Darwin lives up to its imaginative name. A breeding ground for innovative, research-driven start-ups and companies active in health & environmental domains, it offers offices, lab spaces, guidance, and cooperation possibilities. Recently, the Hong Kong-based pharmaceutical concern Grandpharma decided to set up activities at the cutting-edge incubator as well. Let’s have a look behind the scenes!

Part of the ecosystem

At Incubator Darwin, the Grandpharma team consists of four specialists: Project Director Dr. Johnson Yang, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Linda Shi, Senior Operating Manager Xiaorong Li, and Senior Clinical Advisor Ursula Morjaria. From their new base in the Science Park University of Antwerp, all four will connect with local scientists and institutions in Flanders with the aim of collaborating on research projects and advancing innovation.

“I’m very much in favor of the local ecosystem,” comments Dr. Linda Shi, “and I look forward to introducing Grandpharma, a company that puts much emphasis on high quality, honesty, openness and transparency.”

“We chose Science Park University of Antwerp as our location not just because it is so near to many leading pharma companies, but also because the park aligns with our own values through its focus on innovation, support and collaboration.”
Dr. Linda Shi, Chief Medical Officer of Grandpharma at Incubator Darwin

In excellent company

The local ecosystem praised by Grandpharma includes, among other crucial players:

  • the European Respiratory Cluster Antwerp (eu.reca), which seeks to develop a knowledge platform that focuses on the lung as a crucial part of the body. It also connects promising start-ups with leading companies, pharma players with product designers, academics with entrepreneurs, and investors with patients.
  • the Leveraging Affordable Solutions for Advanced Therapies cluster (at.las), which concentrates on cell and gene therapy. Launched by researcher-entrepreneurs, it has hands-on experience with the challenges developers face when bringing advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) to the market.

Benefits in both directions

Fostering collaboration between Grandpharma and Flanders-based clusters of expertise such as these is beneficial to both sides.

“On one hand, connecting Grandpharma with the professional network of the Science Park could function as an entry to introduce our company to the pharmaceutical industry in Belgium and Flanders,” says Ursula Morjaria. “On the other hand,” adds Linda Shi, “gaining access to the Chinese market is not easy for young, foreign companies. Grandpharma, however, is a household name in the country and can open doors. We are more than happy to help innovative businesses find the way.”

Synergies and opportunities

Highlighting just one example of how the ecosystem approach creates both innovative and business opportunities, Grandpharma participates in eTheRNA, another company located at the Science Park University of Antwerp in Flanders. This innovative business develops first-rate mRNA-based immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases.

Through a collaboration between both companies, joint venture Nanjing AuroRNA Biotech came into being. This allows eTheRNA to access the Greater China market for selected mRNA cancer and infectious disease vaccine programs, its proprietary mRNA formulation technologies, and manufacturing process technologies.

Smart strategy

Overall, POM Antwerp, the government office responsible for business development in Flanders’ province of Antwerp, is thrilled with the arrival of Grandpharma at the Science Park University of Antwerp and Incubator Darwin.

“Grandpharma developed a smart strategy for accessing the European market, carefully choosing specific hubs to launch research programs or projects. Here in Flanders, they have launched a clinical study regarding COVID-19 severe pneumonia. Their collaboration with eTheRNA is a bonus. It is a very professional team, and we look forward to doing projects together.”
Jade Verrept, Cluster Manager at POM Antwerp

A look behind the scenes at the Science Park

Discover Flanders’ life sciences & health ecosystem

Hundreds of companies, universities, R&D centers, incubators and other players make Flanders a leading business and research ecosystem for life sciences & health. To learn what they can do for you, check out our life sciences & health industry overview.

Want to discover Flanders’ ecosystem in a virtual yet interactive way? Head to the Flanders360 platform and book a virtual tour guided by one of our experts.

More info

GrandpharmaScience Park University of Antwerp
Reported by
Science Park University of Antwerp
25 November 2021

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