Multinational Clinical Research Firm TASK Opens Research Facility in the Netherlands

The South African-based institute collaborates with the University Medical Center Utrecht

Prof Arno Hoes, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at UMC Utrecht, and Prof Andreas Diacon, Founder and Chairman of TASK, sit at a desk together and sign the formalized collaboration agreement.

Professor Arno Hoes, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at UMC Utrecht, and Professor Andreas Diacon, Founder and Chairman of TASK, formalize collaboration agreement.

Focused on improving global healthcare, South African company TASK will expand its footprint in the Netherlands with the opening of a phase 1 research facility in Utrecht. The University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) and TASK formalized a collaboration agreement in 2022. The phase 1 clinical trial, known as U_TaCT, aims to have the first patients enrolled by the end of March 2023. 

Strengthening the Dutch life sciences and health sector 

TASK’s collaboration with UMC Utrecht will have a substantial impact on the clinical research capabilities of the University. Additionally, it will build on the national life sciences and health ecosystem and strength of the Netherlands.

Moreover, the collaboration for the research facility pairs TASK’s experience in clinical trials with the academic breadth of UMC Utrecht.

“The academic excellence of UMC Utrecht, coupled with the clinical research knowledge and experience of TASK, makes this agreement a feather in our cap as an African-borne organization.” noted Professor Diacon about his excitement for the moment. Professor Hoes mentioned that “TASK comes highly regarded through a number of trial consortiums, past and present, in The Netherlands,” making them a good choice to help establish a phase 1 centre of excellence at UMC Utrecht.

From the new facility, TASK will research pathologies, test medication in a controlled environment and improve the health of patients. On the whole, innovation from the company’s Dutch operations will bring new medicines and technologies into the market. 

Markedly, the facility for phase 1 human drug research will allow UMC Utrecht to provide the full research pathway for new drugs. Therefore adding to the ongoing commitment of innovation in the life sciences and health sector. 

Support from the Invest in Holland Network 

The decision to join the collaborative Dutch life sciences and health sector was especially easy for TASK.  Johann de Bruyn, CEO of TASK, shares: “Utrecht has an attractive ecosystem for starting entrepreneurs and academic institutions. We immediately felt welcome due to the openness and support of local parties. Our Utrecht partners were like colleagues from day one.”  

The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) and ROM Utrecht Region supported TASK on the project: “We were positively surprised by the government support we received here. They took us by the hand and introduced us to relevant parties, including U-TRIAL (the innovative engine for clinical trials at UMC Utrecht). It is nice to see that regional government agencies here are really in contact with the workplace,” continued de Bruyn. 

About TASK Applied Science 

TASK Applied Science was founded in 2005 to accelerate the development and evaluation of novel anti-tuberculosis drugs.  Today the company collaborates with international governments, academia and pharmaceutical companies on drug development projects in various therapeutic areas.  

Source: TASK ROM Utrecht Region and UMC Utrecht 

13 March 2023

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