Cheaper Belgian m-RNA vaccines


mRNA technology made it possible to provide effective but very expensive Covid-19 vaccines in record time. Quantoom Biosciences, based in Nivelles, is working on offering very inexpensive RNA vaccines. This is excellent news for developing countries!

Charleroi biotech company Univercelles was originally responsible for building disruptive bioreactors whose purposes included developing vaccines. Today, its subsidiary, Quantoom Biosciences, has managed to produce "GMP" RNA of the same quality that is up to 100 times cheaper, in its laboratories. This operation takes place in the bioreactor, a plastic block composed of several tanks that are filled and emptied successively by two robots.

This ingenious innovation lies in the deliberately chosen small scale, which makes it possible to skip several stages of production. It turns out that the cost of filling a 200-litre bioreactor is much more prohibitive than copying 20 ml each time. So it is no longer necessary to have several different sized reactors. A small installation enough. It is therefore ideal for developing countries unable to invest in large installations.

To control the price of some reagents, Quantoom Biosciences took over the French company SynHelix, which specialises in DNA synthesis. And it will join forces with Flemish company eTheRNA for the thermal stabilisation of the vaccine.

The South African company Afrigen has already shown interest in producing what will be the first Covid-19 vaccine of African origin.