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Belgian chemical and life sciences sector frontrunner in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology

A growing world population and rapidly ageing Western population are increasing the need for healthcare and welfare. The Belgian chemistry and life sciences sector is leading the way in the development of new medicines, vaccines, detergents, anti-bacterial soaps, … Alongside the production via traditional chemical synthesis routes, the sector is also frontrunner in terms of biotechnological production processes.

Below are a few of many examples.

Sector initiatives

Optimal conservation of vitamins for a better health

Fat-soluble vitamins are usually unstable by their very nature. Since these are organic molecules that deteriorate easily under light, oxygen and heat, they should be protected – especially when used in food products. Moreover, these vitamins are fat soluble only, meaning they cannot be easily deployed in products containing water.

To this end, Prayon has developed an innovative process that guarantees optimal protection for the vitamin and stability over more than a year. It also distributes the vitamin evenly throughout the product by fixing the fat-soluble vitamins to the phosphate salt.

Prayon’s new product, called FortiprayTM, consists of a calcium phosphate salt (calcium phosphate, E341) and fat-soluble vitamins complex. It provides vitamins D2 and D3v while improving the intestinal absorption of the vcalciumv delivered by the phosphate salt (tricalcium phosphate).

Fortipray is used in enriched drinks to guarantee the vitamin stability and in processed cheese to ensure good dispersion of a fat-soluble product in an aqueous environment.

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www.goedgewassen.be: a site full of tips on environmentally-friendly cleaning

products gezondheid en welzijn Vert et propre_NL

The use of detergents is necessary for general hygiene. Just think about the washing and cleaning of clothes, tableware, floors and other surfaces. However, we must not forget that using these products has an impact on the environment, water and energy consumption, the quality of surface water, and the creation and dumping of waste.

But we can limit this impact by selecting appropriate products and then using them in accordance with specific guidelines. The FPS Public Health, Food Chain Safety and the Environment, COMEOS and DETIC in collaboration with CRIOC have created the website www.goedgewassen.be on this subject. On this site, you will find useful tips to help you reduce the impact of detergents and cleaning on the environment. Amongst others, you can find good practices which help you make positive changes to your cleaning and consumption habits.

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GSK contributes to the fight against Ebola and Malaria

GSK is striving to develop innovative vaccines for those who need it the most – such as in the case of Malaria and Ebola:

A vaccine candidate against Ebola

In August 2014, an international consortium including the WHO and other stakeholders was formed to accelerate collaborative multi-site trials of candidate Ebola vaccines. The GSK candidate vaccine was investigated tested in four phase 1 studies. Initial data from these trials have shown it to have an encouraging safety and immune profile, and have enabled GSK to select the most appropriate dosage level to advance to the next phases of clinical testing.

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In January 2015, the first hundreds doses of the candidate Ebola vaccine was shipped from Brussels to Liberia to be tested in the first large-scale efficacy trial of experimental Ebola vaccines led by the US National Institutes of Health. Knowing that it usually takes around a decade to discover and develop a new vaccine, the clinical development of this vaccine candidate is progressing at an unprecedented rate, highlighting the commitment of numerous stakeholders to control this or future Ebola outbreaks.

A 30 year fight against malaria
For the past 30 years, GSK scientists have been working with others across the globe to try to develop what could be the world’s first vaccine to help protect children in Africa from malaria. This vaccine candidate – RTS,S – is being developed in partnership with the global program PATH MVI, supported by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It aims to trigger the immune system to defend against the malaria parasite. GSK submitted a regulatory application for the vaccine to the European Medicines Agency in July 2014. If the required regulatory approvals are obtained, WHO has indicated that a policy recommendation for this vaccine candidate is possible by the end of 2015. If approved, GSK has committed to offer the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis.

In July 2014 GSK submitted a request to the European Medicines Agency to regularise the vaccine, receiving a positive response in August 2015. In light of this decision – and once national regulatory bodies have approved the vaccine – the World Health Organisation (WHO) will make a recommendation to include it in national vaccination programmes. GSK has already committed to producing the vaccine at cost price on approval, with a minimal return of around 5%. These funds will then be reinvested into the research and development of second-generation anti-malarial vaccines or vaccines against other tropical diseases that have thus far been neglected.

products gezondheid en welzijn GSK Ebola _Malaria_Dr_Salim_photo

(Photo of Nahya Salim – Nahya Salim is a Research Scientist & paediatrician, Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania. She is a project leader on phase 3 of GSK’s RTS,S malaria vaccine trials, paediatrician (medical specialist concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and overall care of children) and a clinical researcher)

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