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Learn what drives the simAbs team

Mission

Our mission is to support biopharmaceutical companies in the development and manufacturing of cost-effective therapeutic biologics, and to set a new standard in biopharmaceutical manufacturing technology that enables personalized medicine to become a reality.

Vision

Our vision is to continue to function as a Center of Excellence for the cost-effective biomanufacturing of biologics, to support the evolution of biopharmaceuticals into targeted therapies, and to motivate pharmaceutical companies to develop more innovative products.

We follow three rules in our work:
keep it simple and smart (KISS),
innovate the process,
and enjoy the flow.

As an organization we offer transparency, honest and open communication, and a flexible approach. Most importantly, we provide a personalized approach both to our clients and to the end patient.

Team & Board of Directors

Meet our experienced and diverse team of professionals.

Koen Dierckx, CEO and Co-Founder

Koen Dierckx

CEO, Co-Founder

Koen has over 20 years of experience in R&D, pharmaceutical operations and project management. He has an executive MBA and holds a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering and Biochemistry from the University of Leuven. He has worked for Genzyme, a Sanofi company, where he held several positions in biopharmaceutical operations. He successfully helped the transfer of two production processes and defending the regulatory filing for the EMA and FDA. He is the founder of Pilot Biologix, a biotechnology company that is investing in valorization, technology transfer and scale up of research results in biotechnology. 

Bram Keymolen, Qualified Person and Co-Founder

Bram Keymolen

QP, Co-Founder

Bram has a degree in Industrial Pharmacy and is the Qualified Person within simAbs. He has experience in Quality Management and has supported several projects for GMP licensing of manufacturing facilities. Together with Gunther Coenen, he founded Eye-Tec in 2011. Established as a Visual Inspection consultancy firm, Eye-Tec developed a unique service to healthcare industries by combining experience in both compliance and technical aspects of pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Tom Lokermans, CFO and Co-Founder

Tom Lokermans

CFO, Co-Founder

Tom has a Master’s in Applied Economics from KU Leuven and completed the Executive Masterclass in Corporate Finance from Vlerick Business School. In addition to being our CFO, he is also the CFO of consultancy company Quality by Design, which was selected in 2020 by Deloitte as one of the “Best Managed Companies”.

Joachim Vandeput, Co-Founder

Joachim Vandeput

Co-Founder

Joachim is currently the Team Leader for the Construction Management and Commissioning department within SWECO Industry. He has previous experience as a project manager in the Life Sciences sector for clients such as GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Novartis and JSR Micro. He has in depth experience in various areas of Life Science production facilities, including construction management, commissioning and qualification. Joachim has a Master’s degree in Management from the University of Leuven and a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University College Group T.

Bart van Acker, Co-Founder

Bart van Acker

Co-Founder

Bart is a bioengineer and the founder of consultancy company Quality by Design. They were founded in 2011 and grew very quickly to become the Belgian reference in consultancy for the Life Sciences industry (pharma, biotechnology, medical devices, cosmetics, healthcare). Today the company employs more than 300 people and is also active in the Netherlands, France, Spain, Mexico and Colombia. In 2019 Bart was elected Flemish Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Thomas Geuens, Head of research and development

Thomas Geuens

Head of R&D

Thomas obtained his PhD in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB). There, he was awarded a PhD fellowship from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) to unravel phenotypic effects of protein mutations. After a 3-year post-doctoral stay abroad, he joined simAbs as an Upstream Process Development Engineer. In his current role as Head of Research and Development, Thomas coordinates all research and process development activities. Over the years he has built up extensive knowledge in cell line generation, protein expression in mammalian and bacterial cells, protein characterization and bioprocess development.

Gert Struys, Process Development Engineer DSP

Gert Struys

Process Development Engineer DSP

Gert Struys completed his Masters in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at KULeuven. He was involved in starting up KBI Biopharma Belgium for the buildout of a GMP-compliant lab. Later, his focus changed to validation and qualification of analytical methods, performing formulation studies and stability evaluations as a researcher. He has experience in GMP documentation, instrument qualifications (IQOQPQ), and is an expert in several analytical techniques including capillary electrophoresis, HPLC and binding assays (ELISA, Octet, etc.). In 2021 he became the second employee of simAbs, and is responsible for the development of the continuous downstream process.

Elien Wouters, Process Development Engineer

Elien Wouters

Process Development Engineer

Elien obtained her PhD in biomedical sciences at Hasselt University. There, she focused on the role of innate immune cells in autoimmune disorders. After her PhD, she began her career in industry as a project manager at Nelson Labs. As Upstream Process Development Engineer at simAbs, she is involved in cell line engineering and the optimization of upstream processes in shaker flasks and bench-scale bioreactors.

An Vannuland, Head of Quality

An Vannuland

Head of Quality

An holds a PhD in biochemistry and is passionate about cell culture-based products. Previously she worked at TiGenix as a Project Engineer, where she was responsible for the production of the first ATMP product approved by the EMA. In addition to managing all GMP facets within routine production, she also implemented and approved a new GMP production site (including qualification, tech transfer and comparability studies) and worked in close collaboration with the regulatory department. As Quality Responsible she implemented, together with Koen Dierckx (current CEO of simAbs), a protein A production site with a quality system that is meeting pharma customers’ expectations.

Shahbaz Bashir, Process Development Engineer

Shahbaz Bashir

Process Development Engineer

Shahbaz Bashir obtained his doctoral degree (PhD) in Bioscience Engineering at KU Leuven university, Belgium. His doctoral research was focused on the exploration of the immune system of livestock through antibody phage display platform for the isolation of novel antibody binders against viral targets. After his PhD, he started his postdoc in an industry-academia venture at KU Leuven. His postdoc research was mainly focused on the designing and execution of in vivo and in vitro assays to evaluate and validate the efficacy of antiviral drugs. As Process Development Engineer at SimAbs, he is applying different antibody technologies to validate the quality, stability and purity of the antibodies alongside their functionality testing. He is developing and optimizing the antibody drug conjugates and performing systemic evaluation of each component of its design in order to enhance the efficacy of the therapeutic antibodies.

We are located in BioVille, Belgium

Gert Struys completed his Masters in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at KULeuven. He was involved in starting up KBI Biopharma Belgium for the buildout of a GMP-compliant lab. Later, his focus changed to validation and qualification of analytical methods, performing formulation studies and stability evaluations as a researcher. He has experience in GMP documentation, instrument qualifications (IQOQPQ), and is an expert in several analytical techniques including capillary electrophoresis, HPLC and binding assays (ELISA, Octet, etc.). In 2021 he became the second employee of simAbs, and is responsible for the development of the continuous downstream process.

Opened in 2010,  BioVille is a hub for start-ups and growing companies in the life sciences. Their goal is to assist starting and growing health & care companies by offering them flexible spaces and customized support services. In addition, BioVille was part of the Limburg ambition to make life sciences one of the key sectors in the region. Currently, more than 30 companies and more than 120 colleagues are based at BioVille. The focus is mainly on health & care, biotech, medtech and digital health.

Careers

simAbs is a start-up biotechnology venture that is developing a new bio-manufacturing platform to provide cost-effective therapeutic biologics at small scale to biopharmaceutical companies. This technology will enable personalized medicine to become an affordable reality.

Our values are: keep it simple & smart (KISS), innovate the process and last but not least, enjoy the flow.

Be part of our mission and set the new standard in biopharmaceutical manufacturing technology that enables personalized medicine to become a reality.

Location
Diepenbeek, BE

Job content
As our Automation Engineer, you are passionate in building mechanical systems and automating them. You are responsible for the system design and engineering in our plant to develop an innovative and cost-effective production platform for mammalian single-use cell culture and purification. You apply technical knowledge by providing automation solutions for the life science process equipment involved: work process, unit operations, operating conditions, or process technology improvements.

Responsibilities

  • Procure, install, test, calibrate and maintain operating equipment in order to develop a robust and cost-efficient production platform, in close collaboration with our process development engineers
  • Develop, program and configure automation structure to ensure a smooth and reliable process
  • Lead technical troubleshooting and implement actions to avoid recurrence
  • Ensure data integrity on all equipment
  • Responsible for equipment software, network, accounts, as well as data processing
  • Identify technical issues and implement creative solutions
  • Ensure high quality documentation
  • Follow up on the latest technical insights in your field of expertise
  • Technical assistance for our USP and DSP Engineer
  • Engage in a broad range of activities in order to grow simAbs into a strong and reliable partner for future clients

Education
Master of science in an industrial sciences (automation, electronics, electromechanics, biochemistry, etc.) or

Degree in bioengineering, combined with a strong technical and automation background

Competences

Technical skills:

  • Broad technical knowledge of process equipment and operating equipment
  • Siemens PCS7 and/or DeltaV
  • PLC
  • 21cfr part11
  • Able to read and use electrical and technical drawings
  • Experience in life science industry
  • Experience with single-use process equipment

Soft skills:

  • Entrepreneurial with strong intrinsic motivation and ownership
  • Hands-on, well organized and result-oriented team player
  • Enjoying the start-up flow of our organization
  • Strong and honest communicator
  • Flexible both in content and time

Interested?
Do you want to share our passion in enabling  personalized medicine to become an affordable reality?

Apply by sending your cv to jobs@simabs.com

Located in the buildings of
BioVille | Agoralaan Abis | 3590 Diepenbeek | Belgium
BioVille is located at the University of Hasselt campus in Diepenbeek, Belgium.

+32 (0) 11 28 69 01 | info@simabs.com

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