SynAbs was set up in September 2015 out of Professor Pierre Gianello’s experimental surgery laboratory (CHEX) in order to develop greater expertise in the production of monoclonal antibodies, essentially of rats but also of mice.
The UCL spin-off was set up as a result of coordinated action by the laboratory, the Louvain Technology Transfer Office (LTTO), Wallonia Biotech Coaching and a French group, Biotech Investissement (which owns RD Biotech and Diaclone). The equity investment by Biotech Investissement (based in Besançon, France) was decisive in validating the business plan. This group provides services to biopharmaceutical companies and produces custom monoclonal antibodies. The complementary nature of the two entities, SynAbs and Biotech Investissement, will make it possible to consolidate SynAbs’s activity in Belgium and to expand its sales network in France and the Netherlands. This partnership, the key element in setting up the spin-off, was also possible thanks to the partnership between the LTTO and Wallonia Biotech Coaching (WBC), the incubator for life sciences in Wallonia. Thanks to WBC, the SynAbs project has benefited from the CxO measure for «orphan» projects which meant that a business mentor could be recruited for the final phases of setting up the company. The work by Didier Argentin, the business mentor assigned by WBC to SynAbs and now the CEO of the spin-off, was decisive in establishing the collaboration with Biotech Investissement.
SynAbs SA is currently involved in the production of rat monoclonal antibodies, serving CROs (mAb and custom immunoassays) and with a product catalogue (more than a hundred secondary anti-immunoglobulins) and has gained strong international recognition which its founders (Pierre Gianello, Yannick Nizet and Didier Argentin) wish to increase further. This «rat mAb» expertise is almost unique in the world and offers access to a differentiated antigen repertoire. SynAbs currently has 4 scientists working for it, has 130 m2 of production laboratories and expects to generate earnings of 1 million euro in the short term.