Flanders at BIO 2014: what starting and established biotech and pharmaceutical companies will be showcasing

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Below you can find a selection of leading Flemish biotech companies traveling together with FlandersBio and Flanders Investment & Trade to San Diego for the BIO International Convention, the largest global event for the biotech industry (June 23-26, 2014).

Actogenix – Develops and commercializes ActoBiotics™, a new class of oral drugs for the targeted treatment of conditions such as Crohn disease (severe inflammatory illness) and diabetes. A new concept makes these protein drugs safer, more effective and cheaper. At BIO, Actogenix has appointments with pharmaceutical companies wanting to use this technology. The company also recently launched a new research program focusing on the microbiome – the community of microorganisms that live in and on our body. This is a hot research field right now, with implications for, among other things, the treatment of colon cancer.

Apitope – Develops immunotherapies for the treatment of autoimmune and allergic illnesses, including multiple sclerosis. Apitope has also started working on the pre-clinical development of a new peptide therapy for the treatment of Graves' disease (which affects 7.5 million people worldwide and causes serious symptoms). The patented research platform makes it possible to develop peptide therapies able to suppress the immune system very selectively and repair normal immune balance. In San Diego, Apitope hopes to attract pharmaceutical companies for its existing research programs as well as strike up new research partnerships. It is also looking for additional investors for its Series B financing round.

arGEN-X – Focuses on the development of differentiated antibodies for the treatment of cancer and serious autoimmune conditions. Its clinical pipeline contains several antibodies that are particularly suitable for reaching new complex disease targets not easily targeted with other antibody platforms. At BIO, arGEN-X hopes to meet prospective licensees for its technology platform and stay on top of the latest market and industry trends. Recently, arGEN-X announced a strategic alliance with Shire Pharmaceuticals, which has already invested USD 20.4 million. A collaboration with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has been set up for a Phase II clinical trial with patients suffering from Waldenström macroglobulinemia, a rare blood cancer.

Asclepia - Helps medical companies with developing relevant, innovative drugs. The new 'lead compounds' make it possible for companies to develop intellectual property, a critical factor for this sector. Asclepia recently signed a number of major and exclusive deals with, among others, Oncodesign (France), BioVersys (Switzerland) and Assay Depot (USA). Asclepia is also involved in the development of new antibiotics for combating gram-negative bacterial infections. It hopes to grow its business and has meetings set up at BIO with biotech startups and pharmaceutical companies focused on the development of small molecules that could benefit from the Asclepia technology.

Biocartis – Brings personalized diagnostic tests to locations where clinical decisions are made. Biocartis is developing new tests for cancer and infectious diseases with several partners. At BIO, biotech and pharma companies will be approached for the purpose of setting up more alliances such as the company's recently announced partnership with Abbott. Rudi Pauwels is also one of the speakers at BIO. Together with Werner Verbiest from Janssen Diagnostics, he will discuss the importance of reimbursing diagnostic tests and the challenges of bringing innovative products on the market.

Fluidda – Develops technology that allows bringing drugs for respiratory and lung diseases more quickly on the market for patients who can benefit from this. With the financial support of IWT, Fluidda is investigating the higher survival rate of lung transplant patients thanks to Functional Respiratory Imaging technology. Partnerships with medical centers and universities have already resulted in clinical trials with 750 patients. Fluidda has an office in New York City and, at BIO, will be looking for partners able to use the technology and willing to help develop it further.

Formac – Offers pharmaceutical companies an innovative technology that makes absorption of orally administered drugs more efficient. At BIO, Formac will be looking for partners who want to apply its technology to drugs currently under development. These would be mainly companies with their own drug pipeline. Since 2014, Formac has also been actively working on improved formulations of existing drugs.

Galapagos – Biopharmaceutical company focusing on bone and joint diseases, chronic bowel inflammation, cancer, infectious diseases, inflammatory and metabolic diseases, fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis. It provides products and services for the identification of new candidate drugs. Alliances with pharmaceutical companies have so far produced more than EUR 390 million in revenue. At BIO, new contacts will be explored and existing ones reinforced.

GO4CURE – New online platform giving patients, for the first time, personalized access and customized information about the very latest medical breakthroughs worldwide. Started up with support from IWT. At BIO, meetings will be held with American academic partners and patient organizations with a view to working together.

Janssen Pharmaceutica – Has been a solid BIO partner for years and will be handing out the Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research on June 26 to the winners of that prestigious distinction. Their names will be announced on June 24. Werner Verbiest, global head of Janssen Diagnostics, will also be speaking at BIO. Together with Rudi Pauwels, he will discuss the importance of reimbursing diagnostic tests and the challenges of bringing innovative products on the market.

Novosanis – Innovative method for collecting urine that allows identification of the human papilloma virus, a cause of cervical cancer. A clinical trial is starting this summer with the financial support of IWT. At BIO, Novosanis is looking for partners to bring its Colli-pee to the market and develop it further.

Ontoforce – Developed an app that allows scientists and companies worldwide to share medical data with each other. At BIO, Ontoforce will be checking with scientists and doctors whether its Disqover platform meets current R&D needs.

Tigenix – This European leader in stem cell therapy, with a focus on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, is the first company to have an EU-approved stem cell therapy on the market. Results for Crohn disease are expected in the third quarter of 2015, at the end of the Phase III clinical trial. At BIO, Tigenix will be looking for companies interested in collaborating and commercializing its products.

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