It will serve as the Company’s primary manufacturing site for radioisotopes and commercial and clinical products for patients in the Europe, Middle East and Africa
Telix Pharmaceuticals has welcomed Willy Borsus, Vice-President of Wallonia, Minister of Economy, Research and Innovation, Digital, Agriculture, Urban Planning and Regional Planning to officially open Telix Manufacturing Solutions, the company’s radiopharmaceutical production facility located in Brussels South (Seneffe), in the Wallonia region of Belgium.
Located in the heart of Belgium’s ‘Radiopharma Valley’, the 2,800 sqm facility is one of Europe’s largest radiopharmaceutical production facilities. It will serve as the Company’s primary manufacturing site for radioisotopes and commercial and clinical products for patients in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region and beyond.
Radiopharmaceuticals use targeting agents (small molecules or antibodies) to deliver targeted radiation to cancer cells, regardless of where the cancer is in the body. These agents can be used for imaging (diagnosis) or therapy. Often referred to as “theranostics”, this approach has the potential to better inform treatment decisions and deliver personalised therapy for patients.
Each year more than 10 million imaging procedures are performed in the EU using radiopharmaceutical agents. Furthermore, due to increasing clinical development activity of imaging and therapeutics, the number of patients requiring treatment with radiopharmaceuticals worldwide is set to increase. According to industry analyst reports the market for radiopharmaceuticals is growing rapidly, up 10% year-on-year to US$6 billion in global sales in 2021 and are forecast to reach US$33 billion annual sales by 2031. As demand for these products increases investment in supply chain and manufacturing is vital to ensure patient needs can be met.
“Recent events – including COVID – have taught us that if we are to invest in developing radiopharmaceutical products, we must also invest in ensuring that patients can have access to this new generation of cancer treatments. Given the just-in-time manufacturing and complex logistics required for radiopharmaceuticals this is vital to building a foundation for long-term, commercial success in our field and delivering to the needs of patients,” said Raphael Ortiz, Telix’s CEO for the EMEA region.
Telix acquired the 35,000 sqm in April 2020. After extensive redevelopment, which included the decommissioning and safe removal of two cyclotrons, the facility was granted a renewed licence for the production of an extensive list of radioisotopes required for the Company’s research, development, commercial and clinical activities.
“Sites such as Telix Manufacturing Solutions in Brussels South are a rarity. There are very few places in the world where a site of this scale could be constructed and secure a licence to produce the array of isotopes that our licence allows,” said Dr Christian Behrenbruch, Managing Director and Group CEO of Telix.
Belgium has a proud history as a pioneer in nuclear science and technology for healthcare and the Walloon region is home to a vital hub of research
The first stage of the buildout – which is now complete – included installation of nine GMP manufacturing lines, two research and development laboratories, quality control labs and warehousing space with capacity to support Telix’s operations. One of the first GMP lines will be dedicated for the use of industry and research partners and collaborators.
The company is also preparing to install the first of two planned cyclotrons for the site. The Wallonia regional government provided grant funding and the Wallonia Export & Investment Agency (AWEX) provided access to financing solutions, in addition to the Company’s own funding, to support first stage buildout works.
“Belgium’s “Radiopharma Valley” is a fundamental part of Telix’s innovation success – in fact, the technology that underpins our first commercial product was invented in Belgium. It is our vision that this facility, will not only exist for Telix but operate as a hub for research, development and manufacturing for our partners and collaborators across industry, academia and clinical practice. We are very grateful for the support of the Walloon regional government and AWEX and hope that this facility will contribute to the ongoing growth of our industry and drive further investment in the region,” added Mr Ortiz.
Willy Borsus, Vice-President; Minister of Economy, Foreign Trade of the Walloon Government, said: “Belgium has a proud history as a pioneer in nuclear science and technology for healthcare and the Walloon region is home to a vital hub of research, production, talent and transport known as Radiopharma Valley. We recognise the current and future utility of radiopharmaceuticals and the need to increase capacity to ensure the community can access these innovative technologies. We welcome Telix’s commitment to the region through the creation of this state-of-the-art facility which will attract talent and drive increased investment across a broad range of areas in Wallonia including research, employment, education and health.”
Today, Belgium is a world leader in medical isotope supply, and production of radiopharmaceuticals and nuclear medical equipment, with the nuclear medicine sector providing approximately 5,000 jobs indirectly, and over 2,600 jobs directly. Telix currently employs 32 people in Belgium. This number is expected to grow significantly as the commercial activity develops.