20 November 2020

In Belgium and the Netherlands, SGS is the market leader with a network of 47 offices and laboratories with 3,600 employees of which 600 work in the Life Sciences sector. This includes the SGS CPU, currently located in the ZNA Stuivenberg hospital in Antwerp.

In collaboration with University Hospital Antwerp, SGS is building a new unit with a total capacity of 110 beds. This also includes a separate quarantine unit with 45 beds for CHIM studies. The move to the new unit is planned in mid-2021.

The SGS CPU has been active in early phase clinical research for 30 years, where therapeutic drugs and vaccines are tested on healthy volunteers. For example, the CPU is currently actively involved in several clinical trials in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, SGS’s CPU has been conducting Human Challenge Trials (HTC) studies in its specially equipped 20-bed insulation unit for the past five years. HCTs or Controlled Human Infection Models (CHIM) can validate the efficiency of a drug using realistic studies. Healthy study participants are exposed to a particular pathogen in a controlled way, such as a virus to prove the efficiency and safety of a new drug. For example, challenge studies have already been carried out with a self-developed weakened H3N2 (flu) virus and SGS also carried out the first Malaria challenge study in Belgium last year.

Annick Van Riel, Director Clinical Pharmacology Unit, SGS, said, "Challenge studies will continue to play a key role in the development of medicines and vaccines against infectious diseases in the future. These studies can be a crucial time saving in the clinical development of anti-viral drugs, among other things, by demonstrating efficiency and safety in a controlled environment in a fast and safe manner. That's why we've also decided to invest further in expanding our quarantine capacity in our new CPU. This will allow us to carry out more efficient and faster studies with large numbers of study participants."


SGS Clinical Research is a contract research organization (CRO) that provides clinical research services and bioanalytical tests for Phase I through Phase IV clinical trials, specializing in infectious diseases, respiratory diseases and vaccines. As a leading CRO in the life sciences industry, SGS has more than 35 years of experience in clinical research and is perfectly placed to support biotech and pharmaceutical companies in designing and conducting clinical trials in accordance with the relevant regulations. SGS helps optimize timelines and supports the submission of regulatory studies, with the aim of bringing products to market quickly and safely.

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For more information, please contact:

Wim Verreth
Head of Business Development and Support
t: +32 (0)475 792060


SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.

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