A development and production platform at the heart of Euregio

Created in 1999 by François Fornieri, Mithra Pharmaceuticals, in just a few years, has worked its way to the top of the “women’s health” field in Belgium and Luxembourg, with a market share of 45.1% in the field of contraception. Mithra is also present in 30 countries throughout the world. In order to push innovation even further, Mithra Pharmaceuticals makes it a point of honour to constantly develop new partnerships and synergy with other companies in the pharmaceutical sector, with renowned research centres and universities, in Belgium and worldwide. Everyone can thus benefit from over fifteen years of experience acquired by the Mithra group, and over 100 cumulative years of experience acquired by its management team in research, development, marketing and distribution.

Cultivating innovation

The creation of this technological platform, known as the “Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO)” will give Mithra Pharmaceuticals the opportunity to expand and enhance its expertise internally and through international, national and regional partnerships.

Dans cette optique, cette plateforme repose sur deux piliers :

  • R&D, incorporating innovative projects
  • Production

Anchoring and enhancing research and expertise is essential at Mithra Pharmaceuticals in order to preserve the value chain and sustain the group’s growth. R&D is the spearhead of the new site at Flémalle. Mithra Pharmaceuticals will conduct its own research projects there, at the same time as exploring new areas.

Beyond developing its own therapeutic and diagnostic solutions, Mithra also wishes to enhance the value of its expertise within the context of external partnerships, particularly in the field of medical polymers, an ever-changing niche market (these polymers are matrices which enable the long-term diffusion of the drug substance in a medicinal product). Mithra Pharmaceuticals boasts rare expertise in this field.

Industrial partners, academics, SMEs and start-ups will be able to benefit from the experience Mithra has built up over the years in a framework facilitating the exchange of ideas and knowledge-sharing, to speed up the market launch of innovative products. Our valuable skills in the regulatory field will also help to open up the European market more quickly to international partners.

Thanks to its integrated technology platform (R&D and production), Mithra will be able to offer therapeutic solutions using medical polymer technology (implants and other polymers), sterile injectable products and IM/SC implants. At a later stage, this platform will also offer a compression and blister packing unit for manufacturing tablets. Therefore production will initially focus on enhancing the value of our assets and will gradually integrate new capabilities as Mithra’s international distribution business grows. The platform will comply with strict of European “GMP” (EMA) and US (FDA) requirements in order to meet the specific needs of each partner (volumes, development of production instruments, etc.)

“We are incorporating two key elements in this technological platform”, explains François Fornieri, creator and CEO of Mithra Pharmaceuticals. “On the one hand, we are envisaging integrating development and production activities. The aim is to facilitate the regulatory process associated with the preparation of registration dossiers together with the production of clinical batches, and also enable the production of small to medium-sized batches. This will be a real asset for medicinal products destined for specific niches or in the early marketing stage. On the other hand, we are dealing with women’s health from a broader perspective insofar as we will be working in diagnostic and therapeutic fields.”

Mithra, a regional partner in synergy with the neighbouring regions of Limbourg and Aachen for international development

The Mithra Pharmaceuticals technology platform in Flémalle provides the expertise, infrastructure and resources needed to create the ideal framework to build successful relationships with industrial partners, SMEs and knowledge centres to increase the capacity for innovation and enterprise and promote inter-regional pharmaceutical development for all actors.

The Vice-President of the Walloon governments and Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Minister of the Economy, lndustry, Innovation and Research, Jean-Claude MARCOURT, is keen to welcome the new location project for Mithra Pharmaceuticals. He adds: “this ambitious development project for a Walloon SME, which is established as a world leader in its field, reminds us that Wallonia is still a land of innovation and entrepreneurship. At the heart of a unique ecosystem, the only one of its kind in the world, in the field of health, pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology, the Mithra Pharmaceuticals project perfectly matches the industrial strategy established in the framework of the Marshall Plan and, more specifically, as part of the policy for competitiveness clusters which I initiated.”

François Fornieri is looking beyond “his” Liège region. “Together, we are stronger than the consequences of the crisis. We need to have an open outlook on the world. The past confirms our potential”, he explains. “It was not so long ago that Wallonia was a great industrial power. And in the time of the principality of Liège, Liège and Hasselt joined forces to develop a solid economy in the region. Why not start again.”

An investment of €116 million

This brand new development platform is built on a 3-hectare site (option on an additional 4 hectares) in Flémalle. A total investment of €116 million. €70 million will be invested between 2014 and 2016, funded by the founder, Intégrale, ING Lease Belgium and public investment companies Meuse-Invest and SRIW. The platform should be operational at the end of 2016.

Mithra inaugurates a school in Burkina Faso

Challenges

Among the Gurma people, still a highly male-dominated society, women usually have a clearly defined role, limited to childbirth and domestic chores. Families do not tend to send their daughters to school, as this would deprive them of labour for daily chores.

Experience in the field acquired by Îles de Paix nonetheless shows that there is a direct link between level of education and standard of living. In addition to the new professional prospects offered by access to education, it is observed that a higher standard of living leads to better control of birth rates. In a country where women have on average 7.2 children, the impact is unequivocal.

Unequal access to education based on gender still persists despite a positive discrimination policy run by government authorities in favour of girls.

While 15.9% of males complete primary education, only 1.6% of females attain the same level.

According to a study conducted in 2009:

  • The rate of primary schooling is 41.8% for boys and 34.4% for girls
  • The rate of secondary schooling is 8.3% for boys and 5.6% for girls
  • The literacy rate is 20.6% for boys and 12.2% for women

It should also be noted that access to secondary education is very low in the Diapangou region where Îles de Paix operates, considerably below the national average, since fewer than one in five children go to secondary school.

The project

Building the college in Louargou will facilitate access to education for children living in the north of the district, particularly girls, as distance is an even bigger hurdle for girls than for boys.

In addition to long distances and the costs incurred by accommodation outside the family circle, it is feared that inadequately supervised young girls will “fall pregnant”. Parents are reluctant to allow them to stray too far outside the family circle.

The college in Louargou should eliminate several obstacles which prevent young girls from continuing secondary education by meeting the needs of interested families.

Girls are expected to make up approximately 38% of the population of the new college. Six primary schools are located in the catchment area of the college and currently teach 800 pupils.

The new college should also relieve other surrounding colleges which have on average 92 pupils per class as opposed to a national standard of 60 pupils per class. This will also increase the quality of teaching.

Lastly, creating this college will consolidate and strengthen skills amassed in primary school.

In addition to building the college, there are plans to support the creation of a parent association and to carry out occasional awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of schooling, particularly among girls.

Third place for Mithra in the first Randstad Regional Award

Study context and methodology

For the past 14 years, Randstad has been assessing the appeal of employers of more than 1,000 individuals on a national scale. This study is currently applied in 23 other countries, on 4 continents. In order to take local labour market factors into account, Randstad conducted an identical opinion survey between April and May 2014, on businesses with less than 1,000 employees in the Liège region. More than 1 600 individuals shared their opinions on employer branding for 24 private businesses with at least 7% notoriety.

Third place for Mithra

The Randstad Regional Award is given to the company which has the higher overall score in terms of relative appeal. This value is obtained by calculating the average number of points assigned to an employer known to the respondent and for whom he/she would like to work. Based on its national study, Randstad has drawn up a list of criteria for employer branding, i.e. criteria which influence an applicant’s choice. The criteria-based analysis demonstrates Mithra’s key presence in the top 3 most attractive companies in Liège. Liège Airport and Mithra share second places. Mithra ranks second in terms of competitive pay, corporate financial health and job description, and ranks third notably in terms of future prospects, pleasant working environment, job security and corporate concern for the environment.

Analysis of the sub-groups of respondents also proves that Mithra ranks second amongBaccalauréat holders and the 18-24 age group, and third for older respondents.

Top 10 relative appeal of Liège employers

  1. EVS : 72 %
  2. Liège Airport : 56 %
  3. Mithra : 52 %
  4. Jouets Broze : 47 %
  5. Lyreco : 39 %
  6. Lampiris : 39 %
  7. Eloy Travaux : 39 %
  8. Balteau : 37 %
  9. Air Liquide : 36 %
  10. Knauf : 35 %

About Randstad

Randstad Group Belgium comprises three entities in Belgium, Randstad, Tempo-Team and B-bridge. The group employs 1,637 people. It has 299 agencies and HR centres located in Belgium. Randstad, human resources specialist (temping, recruitment and selection, outplacement, training, in-house agencies, human resource projects, project-sourcing, consultancy, service vouchers), is Belgium’s largest employer. Each week, the company, Belgian leader in the temping, outplacement and service voucher fields, sends more than 29,000 people out to work.