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19.01.2017

The success story of a start-up company becoming a globally active CDMO of APIs and fine chemicals

Press Release

ChemCon GmbH, service provider for custom development and custom manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and fine chemicals, based in the Innovationspark (innovations park) Freiburg, Germany, celebrates its 20th anniversary. On January 29 in 1997, Dr. Raphael Vogler (CEO) and Dr. Peter Gockel (CSO), both graduates from the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, signed the partnering contract to found ChemCon. Today they count 90 members of staff, and ChemCon supplies customers of the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, biotechnology companies and research institutes worldwide.

ChemCon’s success, since the company’s early days, lays in the focus on custom-made production services for APIs and specialty chemicals. Focus is the niche markets complex process development, challenging handling, small batches, or high toxicity. Due to strictly regulated production processes of the pharmaceutical industry (current good manufacturing practice, cGMP), especially the small-scale production of APIs, with an annual demand between 100 g and a few 100 kg, is unprofitable for many companies. Sufferers are the patients, as life-saving specialty medication (e.g., anti-cancer, orphan diseases, critical and postoperative care) may not be available on the market for purely economic reasons. ChemCon successfully supports major pharmaceutical corporations as well as smaller pharma and biotechnology companies worldwide to counteract this trend.

With the experience of the past twenty years, ChemCon is able to adapt exactly to the needs of this special niche market. Today’s core business is small-molecule organic APIs according to cGMP. However, founded initially as a specialist for cytotoxic bioinorganic APIs, the company has always maintained a strong competence in inorganic chemistry. More recently ChemCon’s interdisciplinary team of scientists also added cGMP-compliant polymer chemistry to their service. This exceptionally broad range of chemical expertise allows ChemCon to adapt very quickly trends in the pharma industry: Currently, for example, regulatory authorities are starting to demand cGMP-compliant documentation not only for APIs but for excipients, delivery agents, provocation substances, or dietary trace elements. ChemCon supports a number of companies with long-established products that suddenly found themselves without a supplier qualified to the new regulatory standards.

Today, it is hard to imagine that ChemCon started operating on 250 m2 (2690 sq. ft.) within the  BioTechpark Freiburg. With over 4300 m2 (46000 sq. ft.) of operational space, ChemCon today is the largest privately held enterprise founded as part of the Innovationspark at the end of the 1990s. Growing continuously, the company frequently creates new jobs and has been approved to train apprentices for many years. Occupational and environmental health and safety enjoy highest priority, and so does the quality of the products. Comprehensive investments into infrastructure, beyond legal requirements, are an integral part of the company’s policy. Recent investments include independent cooling technology, improved exhaust-filters and an additional ventilation system. And the next phase of investments is already under way: additional research labs and another production cleanroom, as well as further offices and meeting areas are currently under construction and await promising customers and new orders.

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