Belgian company to make vaccines more accessible in developing countries


The Belgian biotechnology company Univercells, based in Gosselies, is receiving 12 million US dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a platform which is able to produce vaccines for developing countries at substantially lower costs.

With their philanthropic foundation, Microsoft icon Bill Gates and his wife Melinda aim to make their contribution to a better world. Health is an important part of that.

Often, high purchase and distribution costs for vaccines in low-income countries are an obstacle for the well-being of the population. The foundation’s 12 million US dollar donation is to enable Univercells to considerably decrease production costs, in order to make it possible to administer priority vaccines at a global scale. This encourages affordable, fair and sustainable immunisation. The health of the world population can only benefit from this. Furthermore, economic and societal value can be created in the form of avoided costs, productivity gains and a decrease in poverty.

For this project, Univercells enters into a consortium with two large companies, the Dutch company Batavia Biosciences and the Canadian Natrix Separations. The combined knowledge, experience, technologies and innovation capacity shall substantially increase the productivity and will ensure that the commercial production of vaccines shall take place in local, affordable and self-managed micro-installations with a small ecological footprint. It is expected that the new production platform will represent a real breakthrough which will significantly benefit the health of the world population.