15. April 2013

Stability and Growth

Left: For Hans Schick and Christine Wedler of ASCA, a stable business basis comes before exponential growth. Right: So that Caprotec founder Köster can concentrate on his research, Jonathan Turner took over the business lines a few months ago
In the lobby, ASCA Managing Director Christine Wedler got talking to her neighbour. The Institut für Produktqualität had just moved into a new laboratory in Adlershof. There she learned that reference substances were needed for food analysis. “We could supply them,” explained Wedler. Just like Adlershof: synergies are the hallmarks of this location. The company ASCA GmbH Angewandte Synthesechemie Adlershof was founded in 2000 by Professor Hans Schick and Christine Wedler. The company receives orders from pharmaceutical companies to manufacture substances that are potential agents for the drugs of the future. Besides these, ASCA also offers custom syntheses. “We have to be fast and above all reliable if we’re to make it on the market,” emphasized Wedler. The laboratory equipment is always the state of the art, with some of the analytical equipment demanding Euro 100,000 a piece, for instance the new preparative chromatography unit purchased last year. For the future, ASCA is planning to join forces with the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in the development of new analytical methods for mycotoxins. These are poisons produced by mould, for instance in feedstuffs. She’s pleased with her present workforce of thirty. “Every extension to the laboratories would mean a significant investment and therefore a great risk,” explained Wedler. Her premise is a stable business basis. The Adlershof biotech company Caprotec, on the other hand, is looking to growth. “We want to increase the number of our staff by about a third,” explained CEO Jonathan Turner. He continued that this increase could be “organic”, i.e. based on the turnover generated at present, or fuelled by a new round of financing: “Of course, the latter option would make us grow faster.” Caprotec Bioanalytics GmbH was founded in 2006 by Professor Hubert Köster. His staff of 27 are working with a patented method that can determine the effects of substances on organisms, thereby reducing the risks involved in the development of agents. This method utilises capture compound mass spectrometry (CCMS) to depict the interactions between proteins and so called “small” molecules as they are used in medicinal agents. So that Köster can again concentrate fully on his research, Jonathan Turner, a native Scot, took over the business lines a few months ago. Over the long term he would like to expand the business model. For instance, Caprotec in future could analyse known substances, draw up new agent profiles, and so explore new fields for applications. By Mirko Heinemann for Adlershof Special