Biogazelle initiates large-scale testing for COVID-19 in Belgium

on April 2, 2020

Biogazelle NV, a CRO specialized in RNA analytics, has announced the initiation of large-scale testing of patient samples for SARS-CoV-2. Biogazelle is providing one of the multiple testing sites in a government-led consortium of pharma, biotech, IT and academia, alongside Janssen Pharmaceutica (J&J), GSK, UCB, UgenTec, MIPS and ThermoFisher.

The Belgian government initiative is coordinated by a task force headed by federal Minister Philippe De Backer. The aim of the consortium is to ramp up SARS-CoV-2 testing in Belgium, in order to respond to the challenges posed by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Since its involvement in the initiative, Biogazelle has developed and validated a high-throughput and scalable RT-qPCR workflow for sensitive detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The company has started the test rollout with the support of Ghent University, Ghent University Hospital and VIB.

According to Prof. Jo Vandesompele, CSO of Biogazelle: “Our unique skill sets and expertise around qPCR quantification of RNA, in an accredited lab backed by a successful track record of applying this expertise in diagnostic test development in clinical trials, enabled us to contribute the right expertise at the right time. I would like to thank all the other members of the consortium for the seamless collaboration since the start of this ambitious project, less than 2 weeks ago.”

“I am immensely proud of the Biogazelle staff who worked tirelessly to successfully deliver on such a critical project for public health in Belgium,” commented Mieke van Acker, CEO of Biogazelle. “Our role hasn’t finished though, as we are ramping up our capabilities to deliver the much-needed patient testing for as long as required. At the same time, we remain committed to supporting our existing pharma customers in their efforts to develop new therapeutics and diagnostics.”