Making vaccines for a better world

If a new pandemic breaks out, one Dutch company is immediately ready to make vaccines. Bilthoven Biologicals (BBio) is commissioned by the European Commission to produce viral vaccines for Europe during a pandemic. The company is located at the centrally located Utrecht Science Park Bilthoven. For more than 60 years BBio has played a crucial role in the development of vaccines and thus in saving lives worldwide. This is how they, Heart of Health in Utrecht, contribute to a world in which we master pandemics.

The company is an expert in the field of polio vaccines. “Because of us, children around the world get vaccines against polio. Polio is on the verge of global eradication,” says CEO Jurgen Kwik. “We have been able to make a hugely important contribution to that.”

Life without disease

BBio is part of the Cyrus Poonawalla Group, the world’s largest vaccine producer in volumes. The company wants to protect as many people as possible around the world from infectious diseases. “Our mission is to make many vaccines at low prices so that we can give the entire world population a chance to live a disease-free life, including in developing countries.”

Bladder cancer

At BBio in Bilthoven, they also produce BCG. That drug, formerly against tuberculosis, is now used for the post-treatment of bladder cancer. “We are the exclusive supplier of this scarce product in Europe. For people with bladder cancer, this drug is incredibly important. Thanks to BCG, bladder cancer is now a well-treatable disease.”

Important social role

After the corona pandemic, it became clear how crucial it was to have vaccines available quickly. To achieve this, the European Commission set up a project: ‘Pandemic Preparedness’. BBio is one of the European vaccine manufacturers with this responsibility. “We have an important social role. We are the party in the Netherlands that makes viral vaccines during a pandemic to make the necessary medicine available to as many people as possible. We have the expertise to do that quickly and safely: from cell to vaccine.”

Ever warm facility

To meet the order, the company is remodeling one of their facilities. “It’s a so-called ‘ever warm facility.’ After all, you can’t leave a factory idle and suddenly turn it on. That’s why we use this facility for customers with specific short-term product orders. That way the factory is running, but we can immediately convert everything in case of an emergency. So we can get right to work when vaccines are needed,” Kwik explains.

Healthy society

All these vaccines are made at Utrecht Science Park Bilthoven (USPB). Right in the middle of the country, perfect for distribution and dissemination. Moreover, USPB has good basic facilities such as its own electricity, power, water and steam. These facilities are of high quality and suitable for companies such as Bilthoven Biologicals. The location is a good example of what the Utrecht region, Heart of Health excels at: working together on innovations for healthy people. Knowledge institutions, companies and governments join forces here for improvements in health and care.


According to Kwik, it is an attractive place for people with ambition in this sector. “If you like to develop yourself, then you can enjoy yourself here. With us you get the chance to work, think along and contribute to a bigger picture.” The science park also works closely with Utrecht Science Park in the municipality of Utrecht. The grounds in Bilthoven will also be taken care of in the coming years. “There are concrete plans for a ‘state of the art life science park,'” he says. Mercury calls it a special location. A secure site where everyone is working on innovations for a long and healthy life. “In the heart of the Netherlands. We all feel that here we are doing something important for the health of the world.”

Bilthoven Biologicals

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Making vaccines for a better world

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