Growth at the center of fine chemistry

Research cooperation in Saxony-Anhalt "is worth gold"

The MinAscent with its two companies Technologies and Production GmbH is based in the chemical park Leuna. The signs are focused on growth - the conditions are good.

25 years ago, the company emerged as a management buy-out from the research area of ​​Leuna-Werke. Only four years on the market as an independent company, MinAscent records increasing production figures for feed additives, pharmaceutical molecules and fine chemicals for high tech applications. The company, which belongs to the Belgian Minafin Group, wants to grow further. Saxony-Anhalt, the heartland of the East German chemical industry, offers attractive conditions for this.

Out, roughly numbered, the success formula of the MinAscent combines three factors. One is the outstanding quality of the products, the second is niche chemical know-how and the last is the all-inclusive service for the customers. From research on process development, piloting, production and quality assurance with certification, the Saxony-Anhalt-based chemical company of the Minafin Group offers the complete range of services; Small quantities of a few grams are produced as well as hundreds of tons of the entire product range. MinAscent is the only chemical company in Europe to produce di-tert-butyl dicarbonate (DiBoc), which is used in numerous syntheses for life science products.

"The total capacity of the 100 m3 - 10 to 10,000-liter reactors is used to supply industries including pharmaceuticals, food and feed additives, agrochemicals, flavors and fragrances, polymer additives and cosmetics," said Managing Director Dr. Steffen Sonnenberg. "The company is FAMI-QS, GMP and HACCP compliant and FDA-approved (US Food and Drug Administration) for multiple products." MinAscent operates a variety of specialty technologies, including thermal dehydration, hydrogenation, including Hastelloy autoclaves, sulfur, selenium, allene, acetylene and hydrazine chemistry on a customer-specific basis, says Steffen Sonnenberg. Selenium, as an example, is being processed in an animal feed additive, which provides better growth of skin and feathers. Other pharmaceutical products also served animal health or were used in the human medical field.

Modern facilities, qualified teams

The company is well equipped - with highly qualified teams as well as laboratories, reactors, pilot and production facilities. Investments in the double-digit million range have so far been made, the number of employees has increased to 110; More than 30 million euros in sales per year are achieved. Several hundred tons per year are produced; the export focus is mainly on Europe. In the future, Dr. Steffen Sonnenberg, the capacities are to be expanded and growth promoted. In addition to working as a contract manufacturer (CDMO), Minascent has built up its own product and process portfolio.

The research landscape of Saxony-Anhalt offers the best prerequisites for this. "We work closely with universities and research institutes, such as the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna," explains Dr. Steffen Sonnenberg. In addition, the company benefits from its own history: it emerged from the research department of the former Leuna-Werke - exactly 25 years ago, Dr. Karl Becker founded with employees the company formerly known as Chemtec. It was successively taken over by a German and an American company in the 90’s, and since 2006 has been part of the Minafin Group, a Belgian chemical company dedicated tofine chemicals. Finally, as MinAscent the company was positioned as Minafin Group’s expert in very technical chemical reactions used to synthesize fine chemicals. Minafin itself is divided into two divisions: End-markets with Minakem, Minasolve and Minagro in France and Belgium, and Niche Technologies with Pennakem and Pressure Chemicals in the US, Minascent in Germany and EcoXtract in Belgium.

Best conditions in Saxony-Anhalt

The fact that Minafin opted for the location at Chemiepark Leuna in Saxony-Anhalt at the time is no coincidence. Saxony-Anhalt is the heartland of the eastern German chemical industry. The formula for this: billions of investments, state-of-the-art facilities and the idea of chemical parks. It was developed here and ensures shortest paths and technological synergies. The Leuna Chemical Park is one of 12 Centers of Excellence in the federal State of Saxony-Anhalt - places characterized by a locally concentrated close cooperation of business and science, interdisciplinary exchange and a resulting high innovative strength. The chemical park of Leuna, confirms also Dr. Steffen Sonnenberg, is known worldwide for his companies and achieved volumes. Meanwhile, the country's chemical industry is one of the most advanced and competitive in the world. The infrastructure of the chemical parks, the central location in Germany and Europe, the good transport connections, the large pool of locally trained skilled workers and the density of public research and development facilities make Saxony-Anhalt interesting for new settlements and extensions of chemical companies. It is no coincidence that 4chiral, a unique Eastern German network of manufacturers of specialty and fine chemicals as well as scientific institutions, has established itself here. MinAscent is also a member of 4chiral, three projects have been developed together with the network within two years. Steffen Sonnenberg: "This cooperation," says the Managing Director, "is worth gold."

Author: Anja Falgowski