CRL Beerse was founded in October 2017 and is located on the campus of Janssen Pharmaceutica in Beerse, Belgium. As part of Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceutica focuses its research on six pathological areas: oncology, neurosciences, infectious diseases and vaccines, immunology, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders and pulmonary hypertension. The team in Beerse supports Early Discovery projects for all these therapeutic areas.
In April 2002, Johnson & Johnson acquired Tibotec, a pharmaceutical company with a focus on research and development for the treatment of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. In 2010, Tibotech was integrated into the Discovery Sciences department of Janssen Pharmaceutica, a daughter company of Johnson & Johnson headquartered in Beerse. Soon after, Tibotec became the Therapeutic Area (TA) of Infectious Diseases and Vaccines (ID&V) and joined the Janssen Organizational Capabilities group, an entity of different technical platforms that supports scientific research within the various TAs worldwide. In 2017, the Hit to Lead & Lead Optimization screening group led by Géry Dams was acquired by Charles River and the Beerse CRL team was born. The initial group of 11 people team continued to carry out primary and secondary profiling assays to support Structure Activity Relationship programs led by the Janssen TA’s according to the screening flowcharts of the various projects. Rapidly, the original team of 11 people, started growing as new contracts with Janssen were signed. At present, our team of 80 scientists collaborate in an integrated way with the Janssen teams and as such support almost all TAs within Janssen.
The work we do
CRL Beerse has extensive experience in a wide range of hit-to-lead (H2L) & lead optimization profiling assays. The H2L phase is a critical phase of drug discovery programs, where the first set of compounds that demonstrated promising activity against the target are characterized. The primary goal of H2L projects is to identify a few hit series that each demonstrate the promise of producing a drug candidate after focused lead optimization efforts. The hit compounds that are tested by the team in Beerse come from High-Throughput Screening (HTS) campaigns carried out within Janssen. We support hit-to-lead efforts in multiple therapeutic modalities, including small molecules, peptides, and biologics. Biochemical and cellular assays read-outs cover a wide range of technologies and include selectivity and ortholog profiling. These assays are typically in low-volume 384-well format. In addition to profiling, the team also supports the HTS, Protein Science, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology and Translational Sciences within the Janssen Therapeutic Discovery department.
A significant part of our team work closely together with the Infectious Disease & Vaccines and Global Public Health groups within Janssen. Here, our portfolio ranges from antimicrobial screening to antiviral in vivo infection studies. We also develop and routinely run immunological analyses, such as quantitative single cell analysis of biological function using ELISpot as well as flow cytometry assays.
Our most recent collaboration is with the Neuroscience department of Janssen. We support in vitro neuro-immunological and other neuroscience studies as well as in vivo experiments in mice (micro-surgery, dissection, IHC and much more).