BWB (stands for “Biothèque Wallonie Bruxelles”) is an inter-university collaboration platform opens to all biobanks of Brussels and Wallonia’s territories to support applied biomedical research by providing access to human biospecimen samples and compliance with ethical and legal requirements.
BWB is born from the collaboration of 3 universities (UCL, ULB and ULg) and their university hospitals aiming at virtually integrating their respective biobanks. Each participating biobank keeps its legal structure, its responsibility as its position within the institution it belongs to. BWB operates according to a decentralized model with a virtual catalogue and a full-service offering both to academic and industrial end-users through its one-stop-shop model.
The project fits into the biobanking ecosystem at European (http://www.bbmri-eric.eu/) and national (http://www.bbmri.be/) levels and benefits from support from public authorities, Innoviris (http://www.innoviris.be/) for the Brussels capital region and DG06 (https://recherche-technologie.wallonie.be/fr/instituts/dgo6.html) for the Walloon region.
Due to increased use of human biospecimen samples for research and emergence of new technologies and/or new regulations, the availability and quality of these materials and their associated data are coming more and more into focus.
The needs of human samples are illustrated here within the category of the end-users:
Biobanks in the Walloon and Brussels regions are heterogeneous and each operates independently and in a non-synergistic way under the sole responsibility of the institution or hospital on which they depend. This heterogeneity is a limit to the development of research and creates difficulties in maintaining the standards of quality, confidentiality and security of these extremely sensitive data. In addition, there is no dissemination of the content of biobanks, or even their existence, so that today, researchers, as industrial players, ignore the content of most biobanks.
Below the main bottlenecks associated within biobanks in the Walloon and Brussels regions are illustrated:
Our mission & vision
Our mission is to create and implement a virtual network unifying all biobanks of Wallonia-Brussels’ territories to make available human biospecimen samples hosted by participating biobanks. We are dedicated to supporting all applied biomedical researches done in academic and commercial institutions by providing high quality samples and their associated data compliant with international quality standards and regulations.
Our vision is to be your favorite and intuitive go-to source for all types of richly characterized human biospecimen samples. At BWB, we see ourselves more as a research partner than just a simple biospecimens provider.
Our core values
BWB is proud of its values:
To achieve our tasks, we have identified a series of strategic goals:
- Create and maintain a robust biobanking-based virtual network on Wallonia-Brussels’ regions
- Develop a reliable and agile customer-oriented network of biobanks in Wallonia-Brussels’ regions with harmonized processes
- Facilitate and ease the search, the procurement and the use of existing and future biobanked specimens for researchers in academic and commercial institutions
- Grow collections of high quality samples with their associated data and sample's access policies
- Ensuring that operations of our online searchable database are in accordance with data protection regulations and legislation
- Help and support biobank managers and end-users from and outside our network in understanding the Belgian law related to the collection, procurement and use of human biospecimen samples
- Achieve optimal synergy and active participation within existing regional, national and european initiatives
- Contribute to increasing Wallonia-Brussels’ visibility on the global scale by driving substantial progress in Life Sciences through our activities
- Become a valuable tool for public/patients to learn about biobanking and promotion of health knowledge in the context of biobanking, biotechnology and laboratory testing
Our value chain
The core activities on the primary market result in the collection of human biospecimen samples and their associated data. The processes used to transform the primary materials to secondary tools (for instance RNA extraction, fabrication of TMA...) are included in our activities of the primary market. This enables analysis of biospecimen samples as an activity on the secondary market. The improvement of the release of and the access to the human materials and their data, as well as the consultance, coaching or communication activities are part of our activities on the tertiary market.