Helix Biogen Institute, Ogbomoso Partners Belgium Group for Vaccine Development 

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Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

One of the leading translational biomedical research hubs in Nigeria, Helix Biogen Institute in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, has entered into partnership with Univercells, a global life sciences company based in Belgium. 

The partnership with Univercells and its affiliates, is aimed at collaboratively advancing the development and production of mRNA vaccines geared towards addressing evolving healthcare issues across the globe.

An Associate Professor, Dr. Oladipo Kolawole, who is the lead scientist in the division of vaccine design and development of the Institute, made the disclosure in a statement made available to THISDAY in Ibadan.

He said to concretise the agreement for the benefits of Nigeria and Belgium as well as the rest of the world, Helix Biogen Institute and Univercells, signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) to this effect.

According to him, Univercells is a globally recognized life sciences company that specializes in enabling and expanding the biotech industry, with a mission to make advanced biotechnologies accessible worldwide.

“Univercells is at the forefront of optimizing bioprocessing techniques for efficient vaccine production.As such, for us at Helix Biogen, partnership with them is a good step in the medical research world”, Oladipo said.

While the pioneer Vice Chancellor of Precious Cornerstone (PCU), Ibadan, Prof. Julius Kola Oloke, who is the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute, expressed the optimism that the collaboration would improve access to critical biologics and advanced therapies for patients in Nigeria and the neighboring regions,  Prof. Kolawole Olatunji who is also a board member, said the partnership would bring about transformation to the biomedical landscape in the country.

“The collaboration will focus on accelerating the research and development of mRNA vaccines, capitalizing on Univercell’s expertise in bioprocessing and Helix Biogen Institute’s commitment to scientific innovation”,  they noted

In the meantime, the partnership seeks to bring the benefits of advanced biotechnological solutions to Nigeria by ensuring that the country has the expertise and infrastructure to contribute to the global fight against infectious diseases.

Univercells will actively contribute to the transfer of knowledge and technological expertise related to mRNA vaccine research and development which will further enhance the capabilities of Biogen Institute.

It would recalled that the Ogbomoso-based research institute which is dedicated to advancing healthcare solutions through innovative research and development, had previously developed candidates’ vaccine for COVID-19 which was recognised and captured by World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2020.

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