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Cytonet: where the German economy pulsates

The “Top 100” distinguishes the most innovative companies in Germany. And this year, Weinheim-based Cytonet GmbH & Co. KG is among their number. Resourceful employees, the courage to try new things and creative research spirit have taken this particular SME to the very top – right into the list of the 100 top innovators in Germany. On Thursday 8th July in Rostock Warnemünde, the medical and biotechnology company will receive the “Top 100” award from Lothar Späth.

Michael J. Deissner, Lothar Späth, Dr. Dr. Wolfgang Rüdinger (from left to right) © Cytonet

Cytonet was spun off in 2000 from the cell therapy division of Roche Diagnostics GmbH. Since then, 60 creative employees have been constantly coming up with new ideas. The committed team at Cytonet, whose major shareholder is the founder of SAP, Dietmar Hopp, has ensured its place as Germany's leading cell therapeutic company. "Dietmar Hopp's commitment has provided us with the necessary financial basis to significantly speed up our developments in the field of cell therapy and enable us to become a European leader in our field," explained Michael J. Deissner, CFO of the Cytonet Group. In Weinheim as well as at the company's research sites in Heidelberg, Hanover and the American city of Durham, the company's experts develop and produce cell preparations for the treatment of leukaemia and other diseases.

However, the company is mainly focused on the development of a therapy in which human liver cells can be used to treat severe metabolic disorders in children. The liver cell preparation thus provides hope for an alternative treatment to organ transplantation. This therapy is associated with considerably fewer risks than organ transplantation and can also be used to bridge the time until a suitable donor organ has been found. In order to prepare the liver cell suspension, cells are isolated from livers that are unsuitable for transplantation. The company is currently investigating the efficacy of the liver cell suspension in the treatment of children suffering from genetic metabolic dysfunctions of the liver. Unusually in the pharmaceutical industry, Cytonet has been able to financially cover all phases of drug development, including the market introduction of the liver cell suspension.

“Developmental processes in the field of cell therapy are still in the very early stages. However, in future, previously unexpected possibilities will come to light,” said Deissner. “We are permanently optimising our drug for a broad range of indications, in order to meet future requirements. All our developments and innovations are centred around the well-being of our patients.” In the process of implementing its ideas and make sure it conforms with legal requirements, Cytonet needs to regularly undergo regulatory and patent-related inspections. “We are confronted with new challenges on a daily basis and these have to be dealt with in a creative way,” said Deissner. Thus, every single employee at the company’s headquarters in Weinheim becomes an innovator – whether they are on the management board, employees in development and production or the company’s marketing specialists.

The Vienna University of Economics and Business has been evaluating the innovation behaviour of 248 small- and medium-sized companies in Germany. The 100 best-performing companies, including Cytonet, carry the university’s quality seal for one year. “Health is mankind ‘s biggest asset and it is important to protect human health. This requires medical research and excellent ideas. The fact that our commitment has now been awarded the “Top 100” quality seal shows us once again that we are on the right path. The possibility to give children and newborn babies the chance of living a normal life in the future, motivates us every day to work hard to achieve our goals,” said Deissner.

The Top 100 companies employ 32,500 people in Germany, who work conscientiously and are not afraid of innovations. This is because their employers have put in place an innovation management style that creates optimal conditions for creativity and brings out the best in their team. It is this spirit that makes these companies an important driver of the German economy: In 2009, the companies achieved total revenues of around 11.1 billion euros. 42 of the “Top 100” 2010 innovators are number one in their sector on the national level, and 10 of them are global leaders. The fact that remaining conscious of tradition and having a will to change things are not mutually exclusive is reflected in the selection of 60 family-run companies as “Top 100” companies. Over the last three years, 86 of the 100 innovative companies have grown faster than the industry average.

Lothar Späth, former Minister President of Baden-Württemberg, is the project’s mentor. Dr. Nikolaus Franke has been scientific leader of the project since 2002. Franke is a professor for entrepreneurship and innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. He is mainly focused on research involving entrepreneurship, innovation management and marketing. Franke is one of the world’s leading experts in user innovation.

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/cytonet-where-the-german-economy-pulsates