Since August last year, PHAST Development GmbH & Co. KG has been bringing a breath of fresh air to the old research campus of the pharmaceutical company Takeda (formerly Nycomed) in Konstanz. The pharmaceutical company, with its roots in the city of Homburg, Germany, is a specialist in innovative methods for testing the quality of medicines. Amongst other things, PHAST develops test methods that enable the optimisation of drug release. A fresh start for the company, but possibly also for the BioLAGO bioregion.
“It would have taken us around ten years to establish an infrastructure like the one here in Konstanz,” said Dr. Johannes Krämer, CEO of PHAST GmbH, referring to the recently established company site on the former Nycomed research area, which the company abandoned after it was acquired by the Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda last year. Three key factors have led to this strategic move: in addition to the existing, long-term cooperation with Takeda, relocation to the Takeda/Nycomed campus offered PHAST access to state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and the possibility to acquire some of Takeda's/Nycomed’s equipment. Furthermore, the company was also able to bring on board former Takeda/Nycomed employees. “The know-how and experience of the former Takeda/Nycomed employees is of inestimable value to us,” said Krämer.
PHAST’s team in Konstanz currently consists primarily of employees who have worked on the very same premises for many years. One such member of staff is Dr. Manfred Treitz, formerly Head of Analytical Development/Head of Quality Control at Takeda/Nycomed and now Head of Business Unit at PHAST Development. Treitz, a chemist and business economist, finds that little has changed with his transfer from a global company to an SME. He only sees minor differences in the companies’ internal operating procedures: “In contrast to my previous experience, we now have to provide our clients with a detailed offer before we can actually carry out a service or analysis,” Treitz said. Such offers are associated with a certain degree of transparency, which is advantageous as it provides the company with an overview of individual cost centres.
PHAST is aiming for further growth and Treitz might soon come across a few more of his former colleagues in the company corridors. “Amongst other things, we want to consolidate our scientific expertise and hire five new people by the end of 2013,” said Dr. Johannes Krämer. The current team of 16 works on an area of over 1,800 square metres, and another 1,500 square metres will be added in the future. “We have the option to rent another floor in this building,” said Jörg Wilhelmi, Commercial Director at PHAST. The planned expansion is due to the company’s plans to expand its core competencies in the development and validation of analytical methods, for example those used alongside biotechnological production processes as well as for the biopharmaceutical development of new forms of medicine. In addition, the GMP-certified company carries out stability investigations and offers services related to batch release analytics and the provision of clinical trial material.
Using specifically developed test methods, PHAST investigates the concentration-dependent effect of drugs, to name but one example. In addition, the company also focuses on pharmaceutical dosage forms and identifies and removes contaminations that might arise during the drug production process. In future, PHAST also has plans to focus on processes related to the production of smaller batches. “The biotechnology sector and big pharmaceutical companies particularly need help with this, amongst other things due to their activities in the emerging field of personalised medicine,” said Krämer alluding to the worldwide trend amongst large pharmaceutical companies to increasingly outsource company processes. PHAST also has plans to develop and commercialise methods for testing the quality of drug packages. PHAST is convinced that the Konstanz site offers the best conditions for turning these plans into reality.
PHAST Development GmbH & Co. KG is the first non-Lake Constance-based company to relocate to the former Takeda campus area. The relocation of new companies opens up new opportunities for the area. “The area has laboratories and offices on an area of almost 100,000 square metres. We hope that other companies will soon join PHAST and enrich the already extremely varied life sciences environment at Lake Constance,” said Prof. Dr. Klaus P. Schäfer, chairman of the regional life sciences network BioLAGO.
Contact:PHAST Development GmbH & Co. KGByk-Gulden-Str. 278467 KonstanzTel.: +49 (0)7531/ 99125-0E-mail: office(at)phast.de