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Univercells and consortium partners Batavia Biosciences and Natrix Separations selected by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Radically Reduce Vaccine Costs for Developing Countries


Brussels, Belgium, December 15, 2016 – Univercells announced today that it has been awarded a $12 million grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of a breakthrough vaccine manufacturing platform with the objective of radically lowering costs and increasing vaccine availability and affordability in developing countries. The development will be performed by a consortium which also includes Batavia Biosciences and Natrix Separations.

Hugues Bultot, CEO and co-founder of Univercells said: “We are extremely honoured to partner with the Gates Foundation to significantly increase global access to priority vaccines by lowering their manufacturing cost”.

Vaccines are a powerful contributor to the improvement of global health, with corresponding economic and societal value in averted costs, productivity gains and poverty reduction. A number of factors limit complete global immunization coverage, including prohibitive costs for procuring and distributing vaccines in lower income countries. A substantial reduction in the cost of manufacturing vaccines could help enable affordable, equitable and sustainable immunization on a global scale.

Under the terms of the agreement, the consortium will develop a manufacturing platform that integrates continuous processing with extremely high process intensification. This combination allows miniaturization of commercial manufacturing to the point where it can be performed in locally deployed, self-contained, small footprint, low-cost micro-facilities. The platform will leverage Univercells’ process intensification and integration capabilities and technologies; Natrix’s novel single-use chromatography membrane platform; and Batavia’s vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities. The initial target is to establish a micro-facility for inactivated polio vaccine (sIPV) that can deliver 40 million doses of trivalent vaccine per year at a manufacturing cost of less than $0.15 per dose. The platform concept can be applied to any viral vaccine and the reduced scale and simplified operations that it delivers will lower the hurdles for vaccine manufacturers in developing countries while maintaining high safety and containment.

José Castillo, CTO and co-founder of Univercells, stated: “We are excited about this partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With Batavia Biosciences and Natrix Separations, our consortium integrates considerable experience, know-how and innovative but proven technologies that tremendously increase manufacturing productivity. As a result, we expect our integrated platform to be a real game-changer for global health.”


About Univercells

Univercells (Gosselies – Belgium) leverages manufacturing sciences to design single-use bioprocess solutions that change the rules in biomanufacturing. Univercells aims to make biologics available and affordable for all by re-inventing the way they are manufactured across the globe. The company creates value for manufacturers and healthcare systems with cost efficiency and local supply while increasing patients’ access to healthcare.

Univercells’ process integration and intensification results in a smaller footprint and unit cost that significantly reduces infrastructure investment and sales price. Its innovative approach breaks barriers to entry and allows clients to develop local bioproduction facilities, for viral vaccines and recombinant proteins. These production units are less costly to build and to operate, while offering flexible capabilities, from small to large batches. For more information on Univercells, visit

About Batavia Biosciences

Batavia Biosciences aims to significantly contribute to ease human suffering from disease by improving the success rate in the translation of candidate medicines from discovery to the clinic. We offer our novel technologies and in depth know how in order to help our partners to complete preclinical phases in biopharmaceutical product development at higher speed, reduced cost and increased success. The company focuses on the early stages of product development including mammalian cell line generation, upstream process development, purification development, product characterization and clinical manufacturing. Headquartered in Leiden, The Netherlands, with a US-based facility in Woburn, Massachusetts, and offices in Hong Kong, Batavia Biosciences is privileged to have strong strategic partners worldwide. For more information on Batavia Biosciences please contact us or visit us at

About Natrix Separations, Inc.

Natrix Separations enables fast and flexible manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals through high-productivity disposable downstream processing products.   The innovative Natrix HD Membranes overcome the limitations in efficiency, speed, and flexibility imposed by conventional capital-intensive approaches to chromatography. Natrix products feature well-established industry-standard chemistries, and are scalable from R&D to commercial manufacturing.  Natrix is headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.  For additional information, visit