Logo Cellaion 2 couleurs (PNG)
 Cell Signaling   Technology for Liver   Repair & Organ   Regeneration


Cellaïon is a Belgian biotech company developing Life saving advanced therapies to repair tissues and regenerate the liver, Cellaïon targets life threatening diseases.

We are located in the biotech valley of the Walloon region in Belgium.

We are a team of biotech entrepreneurs, physicians and highly talented scientists in the field of liver diseases and cell based regenerative medicine.

Our strong IP base is issued from our own research and the academic research at UCLouvain, developed with the objective to generate new products.

Our lead product HepaStem® is in advanced clinical development in Acute on Chronic Liver Failure (ACLF), a life threatening condition affecting more than 100,000 patients worldwide each year, with a 50% mortality.

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Why Cellaïon exists?
Why Cellaïon exists?

The liver has an immense capacity to regenerate, but this process is often overwhelmed by the ongoing disease and by the tissue inflammation, with functional breakdown of the organ and impaired regenerative process.

We at Cellaion want to restore a favorable environment to reboost the regenerative process, and ensure a second life to the native liver instead of loosing it.

HepaStem® has a unique anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and regenerative capacity and is administered by a simple intravenous infusion.



Chief Executive Officer 
Etienne SOKAL, M.D., Ph.D. 
Chief Executive Officer  Etienne Sokal, M.D., Ph.D.  20 years in Biotech and pharma industry consultancy as advisory board member, CSO, CMO, CEO. > 30 years of experience in the field of hepatology and liver transplantation. Inventor of the technology

Chief Scientific Officer 
Mustapha NAJIMI, Ph.D.
Senior Research Associate at UCLouvain ; 27 years of experience in cell biology and expertise in isolating stem cells from tissues. Inventor of the technology and member of the founding laboratory.
Senior Research Associate at UCLouvain ; 27 years of experience in cell biology and expertise in isolating stem cells from tissues. Inventor of the technology and member of the founding laboratory.
Head of Finance 
> 20 years of experience in operational, corporate and executive finance jobs in several industries as Biotech, construction, automotive, advertising and communication. Master degree in Economics from UCLouvain and a post-master MBA from Solvay Business School / ULB.
  Head of Clinical 
Virginie BARTHEL
> 14 years of experience & collaboration in clinical operations both in CRO and biotech companies with various operational functions such as CRA, Clinical Project Manager & leadership position. She joined Promethera in 2016 to start the clinical development of new indication.
Head of Operations & CMC 
> 20 years of experience operational expertise in industrial manufacturing of pharmaceutical vaccines production and major food industry. He is an experienced leader driving continuous improvement with the highest quality and safety standards. In recent years, his leadership contributed to the successful accomplishment of major projects in terms of quality and robustness.

Board of Directors

Prof. Etienne Sokal is CEO of Cellaïon and inventor of the technology. He has over 20 years experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry as an advisory board member, CSO, CMO, CEO, and > 30 years of expertise in the field of hepatology, liver transplantation, clinical and translational research.

Etienne SOKAL, Md, Ph.D.

Caroline THIELEN is currently Investment Manager – Life Sciences at S.R.I.W. (Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie) and Board Member of several biotech and medtech companies. Over the past 20 years, Caroline has gained solid experience in coordinating research projects at national and international levels. From 2013 to 2020, she has served as Chief Operating Officer of Bridge2Health, a major player in the development and reinforcement of the healthcare sector in connection with the academic research at ULiège and CHU de Liège. Caroline holds a Master’s degree in Biology and a PhD in Immunology from the University of Liège completed by a postdoctoral training at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Atlanta, USA).

Caroline THIELEN

Chris Buyse is Managing Partner of the Belgian company Fund+ NV which he co-founded in 2015. Fund+ is an open-end fund that invests in innovative life sciences companies primarily active in therapeutics, as well as companies developing diagnostics and medical devices. He has more than 30 years of experience in international company finance and in running and establishing best financial practice. He was previously CFO of ThromboGenics NV (currently Oxurion), CropDesign and Keyware Technologies and he held several financial positions at Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux and Unilever. He is currently serving as an independent Board Member of a few companies, mostly active in life sciences such as Celyad, Inventiva Pharma and EyeD Pharma.


Pierre de Waha is Senior Investment Manager at Invest.bw. Professional with a background in venture and growth capital, he has been supporting start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs with an innovative technological project and/or high growth potential for more than 15 years.  Before Invest. BW, Pierre has had managerial position at BNP Fortis Private Equity, Decathlon and EY.

Pierre de WAHA


What we do

We repair tissues and regenerate organs using cell signaling technology.

Our first target is the liver space. The liver is the master organ of the body, and loss of it’s function causes failure of other vital organs and death.

Cellaïon aims to stop progression of chronic liver disease, control infflammation, stop fibrous tissue accumulation and eventually allow organ recovery and regeneration.

Our lead compound HepaStem® acts as a therapeutic cargo, delivering to the liver and inflamed tissues appropriate immunomodulatory signals with specific anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic and regenerative activities.

Our treatment covers the wide spectrum of liver diseases, form the highly life threatening Acute on Chronic Liver Failure (ACLF) and Acute Alcoholic Hepatitis, to intermediate severity acute decompensation of cirrhosis (AD) and  progressive chronic liver diseases causes by Non Alcoholic Steato Hepatitis (NASH).

Genetic modification of HepaStem® allows to address specific targets in selected diseases.  

Thanks to our allogeneic platform our of the shelf product and our multiple patients can be treated from one single tissues sourcing. 

More than 100 patients have already received HepaStem®, easily administered by simple peripheral vein infusion, and the very high safety profile is now established with more that 10 years follow up.

Our proof of concept trial in ACLF is ongoing in many European countries and will be further extended in the US.

Asrain SK et al. Burden of liver diseases in the world. J Hepatol. 2019;70:151-171


Asrain SK et al. Burden of liver diseases in the world. J Hepatol. 2019;70:151-171
Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure
Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure


Acute-on-chronic liver failure

Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure (ACLF), a well characterized clinical entity affecting patients with chronic liver disease including cirrhosis, and characterized by a sudden deterioration of the liver, followed by other vital organs such as kidney, brain, lung or heart. ACLF has mortality from 42% up to 75% at 3 months.
Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis
Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis


Non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis

Progressive Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis is the most severe manifestation of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NASH is closely related to the triple epidemic of obesity, hyperlipidemia and diabetes type 2. The fat chronic deposits can induce liver injury and a sustained inflammation. NASH can progress to more serious disease stages, such as advanced fibrosis, cirrhosis or liver cancer.


Acute Alcoholic hepatitis

Acute Alcoholic Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver caused by drinking  excessive amounts of alcohol. The disease can be sudden with a high mortality rate.

Acute Alcoholic Hepatitis
Acute Alcoholic Hepatitis


Acute Decompensated cirrhosis

Decompensated Cirrhosis is defined as an acute deterioration in liver function in a patient with cirrhosis and is characterised by jaundice, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, hepatorenal syndrome or variceal haemorrhage. Patients with AD can develop ACLF.

Acute Decompensation of Cirrhosis
Acute Decompensation of Cirrhosis

For Who

We care for the liver & we care for lives

The prevalence of CLD is more than 1.5 billion worldwide and cause more than 2 million deaths per year.

In European countries, the median cirrhosis prevalence was 833/100,000 (range 447-1100)(*)

The major and end complications of CLD  are cirrhosis (1.2 million deaths) and liver cancer (790,000 deaths) – account for 3.5% of all deaths worldwide. 

There is currently no approved treatment for these patients and only liver transplantation is considered as a last and unique hope.


Our product: HepaStem®


HepaStem® platform.


Clinical Trial


A phase II study of human allogeneic liver-derived progenitor cell therapy for acute-on-chronic liver failure and acute decompensation.

Published in April 2021 in JHEP Liver 

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Advanced Therapy Medicinal “Platform” Product
Manufacturing modification




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Collaborative projects

Current partnership

Cellaïon as partner

Media & Contact

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Watson & Crick Hill
Rue Granbonpre, 11
1435 Mont Saint Guibert

+32 (0) 10 39 43 00

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