Flen Pharma develops wound care that speeds up the healing process and helps patients feel more comfortable.
In April 2017, Belgian television station Kanaal Z visited Flen Pharma in Kontich, near Antwerp, to see what pharmacist Philippe Sollie had created in 2000. Some of the company’s revolutionary wound ointments might not have made it to the market without EU financing.
“The great advantage of European support for Flen Pharma is that we remain independent, which means we can develop products at our own tempo. The advantage here is that you can produce your own original and innovative products,” CEO Philippe told Kanaal Z.
Among other sources, Flen Pharma received support from the European Fund For Strategic Investments (EFSI). EFSI offers loans to SMEs and other organisations via the European Investment Bank (EIB). EIB involvement shows potential investors that a project is likely to succeed, which in turn attracts further investment. In the case of Flen Pharma, it has brought 34 jobs to Kontich and helped to heal many wounds.
Flen Pharma started small, but its international outlook was clear from the beginning. The EU-backed Belgian wound care cream producer is now present in 5 European countries and employs people of 10 nationalities.
This mindset attracts foreign talent such as Sandra Berg: a young Swede now working as a laboratory technician. She has witnessed how Flen Pharma products help patients. “It’s thanks to EU support that I can now be part of a group that contributes to people’s health on a daily basis. It really feels good when others benefit from your work. It gives your work more value,” she says.
Flen Pharma’s international mindset is also seen in the close collaboration between its research team and offices across Europe, and particularly in its work with foreign universities. This further broadens Sandra’s horizons.“In our new research project, for example, we collaborate with a university in Spain and another in France,” she adds.
Thanks to EU funding, Flen Pharma has been able to invest in innovative solutions and treat hundreds of thousands of burns patients. The investments have also led to the creation of 78 jobs, of which 34 are in Belgium.
The EU is investing in thousands of other Belgian projects to support communities. The impact can be seen in terms of:
Did you know?
In 1992, Philippe Sollie's friend’s daughter got badly burned at a barbecue and was allergic to traditional ointments. “From that moment I had to find a solution,” says Philippe, a pharmacist. 8 years of research later he perfected Flamigel, which helps burns to heal fast.
16 years on Philippe is managing director of Flen Pharma, a once Belgian and now international firm based in Antwerp.
With EU support, it carries out research that puts patients first. For Philippe, “helping patients with your own product is the best thing you can do.”
Philippe is driven to keep looking for ideas to help patients, not only in Europe but also in countries like the United States, Australia and China. “With so many unmet needs and opportunities, how can you not do anything?” he says.