About the company
The mantra ‘vaccines for a better world’ is the underlying driving force behind the growth and success of Bilthoven Biologicals, also known as BBio, located at the Utrecht Science Park in Bilthoven, the Netherlands. Both BBio and the location are renowned worldwide for the production of polio vaccines, and the story is one of knowledge exchange and international cooperation that turns full-circle.
Eradicating polio worldwide
BBio CEO Jan-Eric Zandbergen: ‘We focus mainly on the large-scale production of the polio vaccine in order to contribute to the worldwide eradication of this disease. Because we can produce at great scale, the costs per vaccine remain low.’
The goal is simple: the total eradication of polio. In 1988 there were still 350,000 cases. Today, that figure is less than 200; however, vaccination must continue so that the virus cannot resurface. ‘We still need to make millions of vaccines before we can declare polio a disease of the past. Bilthoven Biologicals is a crucial supplier within the World Health Organization’s Polio Eradication Program, and we are proud that we can contribute to this goal from Bilthoven,’ emphasizes Zandbergen. The reputation and registration and license dossiers for vaccines emanating from the Bilthoven facility are long-established in the various export destinations – a critical hurdle in getting vaccines to local populations.
Utrecht Region: Biotech hotbed
Developments continue at the facility as in the coming years the Poonawalla Science Park Bilthoven will expand into a new science park, complementary to the existing Utrecht Science Park. ‘We share the ambition with other companies here to put the Utrecht region on the worldwide map of biotechnology,’ states Zandbergen, enthusiastically. As resident government institutions complete planned moves to other locations, space will become available for many new enterprises in the biotech field.
Zandbergen: ‘Because of the production facilities, we have all the necessary infrastructure here such as electricity, steam, water, etc., which is not available at every research park, or where universities are located.’
Excellent logistics connections in the Netherlands
BBio’s Bilthoven location benefits from excellent connections through the hub of Schiphol Airport and overland into Europe, to bring its vaccines to dispersed markets. ‘We deliver most of our volume outside the Netherlands,’ explains Zandbergen, ‘so we are very dependent on the logistics system and, as it is a cold chain product, it has to be well handled, and that’s a prime benefit of our location here.’
Read on the website of Invest in Holland the complete interview with Zandbergen.