Belgian biotech enters the big league


A Liège biotech company is anticipating the global marketing of its treatments for autoimmune diseases thanks to the support of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.


Located on the Sart Tilman university campus in Liège, the biopharmaceutical company Imcyse specialises in the development of new treatments for severe, chronic autoimmune diseases. Thanks to immunotherapy, certain diseases that currently have no therapeutic alternatives can be cured preventively. In practical terms, we are talking about forms of therapeutic vaccines, explains Denis Bedoret, the biotech CEO, with "a reset, a recalibration of the immune system to delete the aberrant response."

According to the agreement just signed with Pfizer, the Liège-based company will complete the preclinical development of a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (a severe inflammatory disease that progressively destroys the joints) that should be ready for administration to humans in two or three years.

Another treatment based on the same technology is for type 1 diabetes (hyperglycaemia due to insulin deficiency); it is well advanced in clinical trials and will allow insulin injections to be stopped in children treated very early. And a new clinical study of multiple sclerosis, another serious chronic disease that is still incurable, is also expected to begin in 2021.

Many hopes are pinned on this technology, which is said to be simple to produce and inexpensive for patients.