Neuroplast and CiMaas, developers and producers of regenerative cell therapies, are setting up joint shop at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen where they will be sharing a new laboratory and office space. Both companies currently employ around 30 people and expect to experience substantial growth.
Founded in 2014, Neuroplast has developed a stem cell therapy for patients with spinal cord injuries and the muscular disease ALS. CiMaas is a Maastricht University Medical Center spin-off that was founded in 2015 and is developing a therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of lung cancer, among other therapies.
The two companies have been working closely together for some time now, taking advantage of the synergy between the companies to ensure faster and more efficient access to medicines for patients. Since both companies plan to expand their activities, they have decided to continue to work together and set up their operational activities at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen.
CiMaas and Neuroplast are investing more than 1.5 million Euros in the premises and new equipment. The laboratories and cleanrooms will be installed in September. After GMP certification is obtained, production for clinical trials will start in 2020.
“Both companies are active in regenerative medicine, but we don’t compete with each other at all,” says Johannes de Munter, CEO of Neuroplast. “Both companies were in need of expansion. We have outgrown the start-up phase and were looking for our own business premises with our own labs and cleanrooms. The opportunity to do this arose in Geleen at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus. We complement each other perfectly, there is synergy in various areas.”
Neuroplast and CiMaas are working on different treatment methods that are based on cell therapy. Wilfred Germeraad, Chief Scientific Officer of CiMaas: “The work required to produce these is similar in terms of technology. This applies to the raw materials, procedures, storage, and transport to the patient. Both independent companies have their own production facilities and products are manufactured strictly separate from each other. We do, however, share as many common areas and expertise and services as possible, which generates considerable savings.”
Neuroplast currently employs 18 people and CiMaas has 10 employees. These numbers are expected to grow considerably in the coming years. Both companies will start clinical trials in the short term with their candidate drugs in different hospitals in Europe. Johannes de Munter: “Regenerative medicine is the medicine of the future. We expect to be printing organs in 20 years’ time, repairing cells and producing remedies for various brain and muscular diseases and different types of cancer.”
Wilfred Germeraad: “Brightlands Chemelot Campus is an excellent base for CiMaas to continue to grow. I expect other similar companies to set up shop here because there are good facilities at the campus and, together with the other Brightlands campuses, everything you need to develop, clinically test and produce regenerative medicine products is here.”
Bert Kip, CEO Brightlands Chemelot Campus: “We are pleased that CiMaas and Neuroplast have chosen our campus for their continued growth. This also helps boost the further development of the total concept for biomedical developments in the Brightlands region: the early phase occurs primarily at the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus and further development and industrialization primarily at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus. We are proud that we have succeeded in finding suitable accommodation for the short term, thanks to excellent cooperation between CiMaas and Neuroplast and the campus team.”
Brightlands Chemelot Campus
At the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen, entrepreneurs, scientists and students work together in the fields of smart materials and the sustainable production of chemicals. This results in the building of bridges between fundamental scientific research and product and process innovations in companies. This campus is part of Brightlands, an open innovation community made up of four campuses where the focus lies on the grand challenges in sustainability and health. Together with prominent companies such as DSM, the Province of Limburg, Maastricht University, Maastricht UMC+, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and Fontys University of Applied Sciences are the initiators of Brightlands.