You are here

Pfizer opens Limburg’s first satellite unit for clinical research at Jessa Hospital

New phase-1 unit will draw volunteers from Limburg and neighbouring countries

Brussels/Hasselt, 23 February 2017 – The volume of clinical research taking place in Belgium is expanding and more volunteers are needed for phase-1 research. In order to meet demand, Pfizer’s clinical research unit (PCRU) will open its first strategically-located satellite unit at Jessa Hospital, specifically at the Salvator campus in Hasselt. The development will give prospective volunteers from Limburg and neighbouring regions and countries easier access to clinical research programmes. The unit was officially opened today in the presence of Jessa Hospital’s medical director, the PCRU’s clinical operations director and Diane Kleinermans, an advisor to the Public Health Minister Maggie De Block.
Across Europe, Belgium ranks second in regard to the amount of clinical research carried out per capita. New clinical research proposals increased by 6% in 2015, bringing the total number of studies in 2015 to 1,578.1 Along with growth comes a greater need for volunteers for phase-1 research, the phase at which newly developed medicinal drugs are administered to healthy subjects. The number of volunteers needed is expected to grow even further in the coming few years. To address this demand, Pfizer has opened its first satellite unit at Hasselt’s Jessa Hospital.

A first

“The Hasselt satellite unit is a first. This collaboration with Jessa Hospital is of major importance to Pfizer’s clinical research programme. It offers us an excellent opportunity to move closer to volunteers,” says Dr Anna Colzi, medical director at the Pfizer Clinical Research Unit (PCRU). “Pfizer has only two facilities globally for phase-1 research on new drugs in humans: one in New Haven (United States) and one in Brussels. In this respect, Belgium plays a hugely important role for Pfizer.”

Appealing to a new group of potential volunteers

The strategic choice to open a unit in Hasselt will enable Pfizer to appeal to a new group of potential volunteers from Limburg and from neighbouring regions and countries to take part in phase-1 research. Thanks to the local unit, volunteers no longer need to travel to the research unit in Brussels. And for Jessa Hospital, scientific research is a strategic cornerstone. “A partnership with one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers is a major advantage for us,” says Jessa Hospital’s medical director, Professor Dirk Ramaekers.

Opening of Hasselt unit is good news

Ambulatory visits take place in Hasselt in a unit that has two trial areas and an area for basic laboratory research. If initial screening is positive, volunteers participate in phase-1 research in
Brussels. The opening of the satellite unit at Jessa Hospital is good news for Dutch volunteer Mikel Homans. “I had to travel a long way to take part in a Pfizer trial in Anderlecht. The Brussels ring road
is particularly annoying. Sometimes you have to arrive very early in the morning, which often just wasn’t possible. A few times I had to stay in a hotel in Anderlecht the night before just to get there
on time. Having a unit in Hasselt will save me considerable time.”

About Pfizer Belgium

Pfizer discovers, develops, produces and distributes medicinal drugs and vaccines, aiming to improve health and welfare for all people and in all life phases. Together with the government and other health-care partners, Pfizer strives to provide high-quality, affordable and accessible health care. For us, the patient is always central.

Belgium is home to high-tech expertise, a highly educated workforce and top-level academic research programmes. Consequently, Pfizer has continued to invest in Belgium year after year. At
present Pfizer employs 2,500 staff in Belgium (3% of its employees worldwide) and maintains four facilities in the country: the Pfizer Clinical Research Centre in Anderlecht (one of Pfizer’s two fully
equipped phase-1 research centres; the other is in New Haven), the production site in Puurs at which Pfizer manufactures vaccines and which employs 1,300 staff, Pfizer’s administrative and commercial headquarters in Elsene and its European Logistics Centre in Zaventem.

For more information, please see

About Jessa Hospital

Jessa Hospital is a supraregional referral hospital that provides a wide spectrum of innovative, highquality medical care and patient care services. The hospital’s 981 beds and 220 outpatient care slots are distributed across four campuses: Virga Jesse, Salvator and the logistical campus Ekkelgarden in Hasselt, and St Ursula campus in Herk-de-Stad. Jessa Hospital is one of the five largest non-academic hospitals in Flanders, and with more than 350 doctors and junior doctors and a total of over 3,000 staff, Jessa employs more people than any other organization in Limburg. Jessa Hospital’s policies are founded on a commitment to continuous investment in top medical technology, IT, quality, patientcentred care and skilled physicians and staff.

Media contacts

Charlotte Herelixka
+32 (0)494/31 13 83

Christa Meekers
Communications manager, Jessa Hospital
+32 (0)473/56 12 38