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UBC inaugurates next-gen biomanufacturing plant

This biotechnology production unit for next-generation drugs, built on the group's campus in Braine-l'Alleud, represents an investment of 300 million euros. It will produce the biotech company's most innovative drugs, including Bimzelx for psoriasis. The plant will eventually employ 150 people.

This new plant, built on the group's campus in Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium, represents an investment of 300 million euros, part of a billion euro programme planned over three years. The building, dedicated to the biotechnology production process, is equipped with three bioreactors, each with a capacity of 10,000 litres. It is still possible to install three similar bioreactors in a space designed for this purpose. In total, this brand new production centre has five floors, each with a surface area of 5,000 square metres, plus an annexe building. The project involved a great deal of thought about how the new production unit would fit in with UCB's Braine-l'Alleud campus, which extends over 50 hectares and includes around 50 buildings. According to UCB, this state-of-the-art biotech plant is one of the largest and most modern in Europe.

Producing next-generation drugs for the global market

The Belgium Biomanufacturing Operations Centre will enable the bioproduction of new-generation drugs for the global market. It will take a total of eight weeks to produce a finished product. Six weeks to amplify the cells and develop the antibodies. Two weeks to purify them. Among other things, UCB will manufacture its injectable product for treating psoriasis, Bimzelx. The project also targets other diseases in the field of immunology.

An example of sustainability

Equipped with the latest digital and artificial intelligence technologies, the new biotechnology production line also aims to be exemplary in terms of sustainability and energy savings, both in terms of the design of the building and the production processes used.

Thanks to the collaboration with the municipality of Braine-l'Alleud, the campus is connected to the largest field of photovoltaic panels in the province of Walloon Brabant. This direct connection to the 32,000 panels means savings of 25% on its average annual electricity consumption. Water saving is also at the heart of the approach, with a wastewater recovery system that reduces water consumption by 20%.

The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions on the UCB campus by 38% by 2030 (compared with 2015).

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