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  • Writer's pictureAntleron NV

David Nauwelaers strengthens the development of Antleron’s manufacturing capabilities enabling custom bioprocess scaling and GMP translation

Since he joined Antleron last year, David Nauwelaers is focusing on strengthening the development of Antleron’s manufacturing capabilities, which will tighten collaborations with international biotech stakeholders. "My role at Antleron is a new chapter that builds on my previous work experiences, which covered the development and manufacturing of RNA based medicinal products, diagnostic test cards, and oncology testing products. It is a pleasure for me to work amid a rollercoaster of new biotech and engineering innovations that are taking shape at Antleron. By defining and implementing processes and procedures, I gradually work towards flexible and bespoke production supporting custom bioprocess scaling and GMP translation. Throughout these endeavors, my emphasis remains on ensuring quality and efficiency, while continually learning from practical experience." 

David Nauwelaers: "Antleron has always been familiar to me. During my tenure at miDiagnostics, and Biocartis, I frequently encountered Antleron Fellows with whom I occasionally collaborated. I consistently appreciated Antleron's commitment to delivering innovative solutions to patients by merging scientific proficiency with technological engineering." 


Many years ago, David pursued his studies in biochemistry at KU Leuven university. During his doctoral research in molecular biochemistry, he focused on stress-resistance in baker's yeast and its application in frozen baker's dough. "My research centered on increasing the stress resistance of yeast upon direct exposure to glucose which activates the cAMP pathway." 


David's primary focus lies in embedding operational quality and efficiency as Antleron's development efforts towards scalable manufacturing and clinical translation of its solutions are extending in scope, depth and scale. He explains, "Through the definition and implementation of processes and procedures, I contribute to the gradual transformation of bioprocess innovations into adaptable and scalable production systems. This involves various aspects related to quality, predictability, and safety across automation, industrialization, logistics, and manufacturing initiatives. Together as a team, we are harnessing Antleron's reputation for enabling next-generation bioprocesses across a diverse array of life science applications, including diagnostics and advanced (personalized) therapies." 


The research collaboration with Tuatara Diagnostics focuses on a real-time genetic diagnostic test, offering personalized care at the point of need. This innovative molecular test is designed to identify patient-specific DNA mutations. A crucial aspect of this innovation project is the development of the microfluidics cartridge at Antleron. "My responsibility involves guiding the progression from cartridge development to showing proof-of-concept that the translation to high-quality and commercially viable serial production is possible. Upon its release, this genetic test will accelerate diagnostics and reduce hospital admissions by aiding medical professionals in prescribing tailored care plans to patients." 


For another partner, Antleron is developing technologies aimed at establishing robust, scalable bioprocess solutions. "Intricately designed 3D consumables devised by Antleron improve, as part of scalable adherent cell bioreactors, the cell culture environment. Such 3D cell cultures facilitate higher cell and cell product yields and quality for clinical applications, thereby also fast-tracking development, reducing laboratory space requirements and manual labor. These 3D consumables must be rigorously tested and validated to meet our customers' expectations. I am currently implementing the applicable quality systems to ensure that the 3D consumables comply with the appropriate standards. The diverse nature of the work appeals to me and brings me into contact with many colleagues and external parties. Through such projects, we collaboratively building up the supply chain blue print for high-quality and affordable solutions that ultimately treat patients effectively and provide them with greater comfort.” 


Bringing novel innovations from the development stage to manufacturing often necessitates building a plan from the ground up, a task David undertook for miDiagnostics. "In this case, it involved the creation of tools and processes that would enable the rapid assembly of high-quality, regulatory-compliant PCR cartridges. Scaling up the daily production to a throughput of thousands of test cards was quite a challenge. This experience is valuable for me in further enhancing Antleron’s proprietary platform, which is driven by AI, 3D printing and custom materials. 3D printing in combination with AI allows us to rapidly improve manufacturing processes while keeping them simple, making such innovative processes applicable in R&D, scalable for industrial use and translatable to GMP for clinical use. Particularly novel molecular diagnostic approaches stand to benefit from the design freedom offered by this manufacturing and innovative data technology.” 


These R&D projects exemplify how David's endeavors play a valuable role in advancing bioprocesses from conception to production. "It is truly fulfilling for me to witness how my contributions ultimately support biotech stakeholders in delivering efficient and accessible healthcare to patients. My efforts align with Antleron's mission to transition bioprocess development into industrial-scale production, ensuring complete control, certification, and readiness for international rollout." 


David's dedication to enhancing patient care is evident. This extends to his role as the Head of Research and Development at Praesens Care. This organization operates an innovative healthcare service delivery platform, integrating a wide range of diagnostics in a specialized fleet of vehicles to anticipate and address healthcare challenges worldwide in difficult-to-access areas. Despite spending numerous hours indoors, David finds solace in outdoor activities. Through his organization 'The Gathering', he organizes paintball, laser shooting and bushcraft events for groups of all ages and sizes, demonstrating his talent for organization, his camping and outdoor soul, and the need to enjoy life to the fullest with family and friends!


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