The world in 1989 was rapidly changing and nowhere more so than in Portugal. Our country was awakening to the need to break with traditional economic models heavily reliant on primary resources, inexpensive products and cheap labour.
A couple of Portuguese scientists nurtured the audacious idea of bringing public institutions together with private companies to work towards a common goal: harvesting the knowledge created by the former and transferring it to the economy and to society in order to create wealth and quality of life. These visionaries created the Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica – iBET.
iBET is a private not for profit research intensive SME in the area of Biotechnology and Life Sciences. Set up in 1989, iBET bridges university and industry research by establishing partnerships particularly in the areas related to Biopharma and Food & Nutraceuticals, while also creating and organizing autonomous knowledge and expertise. Thirty years later,
iBET is now the largest private Portuguese non-profit institution devoted to Biotechnology Research.
iBET is a certified service provider offering solutions for Biopharmaceuticals & Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs), and for Foods, Nutraceuticals & Bioactive Ingredients.
iBET’s infrastructure comprises cutting edge laboratories, a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified Analytical Services Unit and a Pilot Plant Unit providing protein and virus production, bioprocess development technologies and production process scale up services for biologics. iBET also has access to the GMP manufacturer GenIbet (45% owned by iBET) which together allows iBET to present solutions for the development of Biopharmaceuticals, from R&D all the way up to Phase I/II clinical trials.
iBET hosts 4 satellite laboratories (Novartis, Bayer, Merck and Sanofi) and has a broad network of collaborations, ranging from national and international companies, research institutes, foundations and public institutions. It also serves as an incubation platform for start-up/spin-off companies.
iBET is also the coordinator of the “iNOVA4Health-Advancing Precision Medicine” Research Unit – funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)-, a translational medicine program organizing the efforts of biomedical researchers involved in biological understanding of disease, lead compounds and biopharmaceuticals pre-discovery; technological scientists involved in preclinical development; and clinicians involved in early clinical and “first-in-man” clinical trials, from institutions within NOVA University of Lisbon.
Along with ITQB NOVA and the Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária (INIAV), iBET belongs to the Agrotech Oeiras Campus. This consortium, the largest in the country of its kind, aims to promote research and experimental development of agriculture and forestry, animal health and plant sanity and technology and innovation for bioeconomy. It also supports advanced and specialized training of researchers and technicians, namely in agro-biotechnology, agro-industry and forestry.
Importantly, iBET was one of the first research institutions to be awarded the status of Laboratório Associado (LA) by the Portuguese Ministry of Science and Technology, in 2001. This status, given to institutions rated as excellent in research after international peer review evaluation, allowed iBET to establish a partnership with IGC and ITQB NOVA, and later CEDOC to maximize its research in Biologically Active Molecules, Molecular Medicine, Developmental Biology, Biological Risk and Plant Biotechnology.
iBET has a privileged location only 15 Km west of Lisbon on the coast with easy and close access to main transportation routes to Lisbon (by train and highway).
Establishment of collaboration with GBF (Gesellschaft fur Biotechnologische Forschung, today HZI).
Pilot Plant Project – German Ministry of S&T grants 2 million marcs for support, training and education.
Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) Infrastructure initiates activity with German HOECHST.
Plan for "Biotechnology” as a Tool for the Development of Agriculture and Agro-industry, with the support from the European SAST.
Start of activities with the German SCHERING (protein structures).
– Inauguration of the Pilot Plant Facility by official entities.
– Animal Cell Technology and Microbiology Labs move to the new building.
Projects ongoing with RAR, COMPAL, SOPORCEL, CIPAN.
Starting of IMUNOPUR project for the development of pharmaceuticals, coordinated by MEDINFAR-LABORATÓRIO SOROLÓGICO.
- Establishment of Plant Biotechnology Network with SOPORCEL and PORTUCEL FLORESTAL.
- Start collaboration with MERCK in cancer therapy.
It is held the meeting Opportunities for Pharmaceuticals R&D in Portugal.
Starting of project regarding protein structure (CotA) and connection with pharmaceuticals under development at BIAL.
Submission of patents: four national, two european and one internacional (PCT).
Establishment of Oeiras Associate Laboratory: iBET, ITQB and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência.
Licensing of two patents to the company BITOP (Germany).
Encapsulated adenovirus developed at iBET moves to veterinary field trials in three African countries.
Retroviral vectors developed at the Animal Cell Technology Laboratory and GENETHON move to gene therapy clinical trial in France.
Reinforcement of iBET Bioassay activity with the Japanese ASTELLAS and IBERFAR.
- Establishment of the CLINIGENE International Network of Excellence in Gene and Cell therapy. iBET is partner and member of the Board.
- Sign of the Collaboration agreement between iBET-MERCK which opened the door for the creation of a new satellite lab.
Fermentative production of biopolymer for ENERSIS.
Development of analytical methods to support vaccine production ongoing at GenIbet for NOVARTIS-NVGH (Siena).
BAYER Satellite Laboratory contract signature (node of BAYER R&D).
Development of new functional formulations for SUMOL+COMPAL.
Starting of project with ASTRAZENECA, BAYER and ROCHE under the scope of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) for cancer models.
– Development of in vitro cellular models for neuropharmacology with TECNIMEDE;
– Researchers from the Animal Cell Technology Unit reproduce cellular models of human livers.
The Analytical Services Unit is GMP certified by INFARMED (the Portuguese medicines authority) and by DGAV (the Portuguese veterinary authority).
The Recombinant Protein Production Platform is implemented.
– NOVARTIS Satellite Laboratory contract signature
– The iNOVA4Health programme, of which iBET is partner and coordinator, is set up for a new paradigm of Personalized Medicine and healthy aging.
The vaccine LETIFEND®, developed by Laboratórios LETI (Spain) and which counted with the strong collaboration of iBET and GenIbet, moves to early stage process development and manufacture.
SANOFI Satellite Laboratory contract signature.
Inauguration of "Late Stage R&D and Bioproduction Unit"