Merz develops facility at the BioPharmaPark in Dessau

The specialist in medical aesthetic products is expanding its range

The pharmaceutical company Merz distributes its medical aesthetic products across the world. The facility at the BioPharmaPark in Dessau-Roßlau has played a large part in the company’s success since 2002. A new production facility was put into operation here in September 2019. Merz expanded its range with dermal fillers based on hyaluronic acid.

Live better. Feel better. Look better – this is the slogan Merz Pharma GmbH & Co.KGaA has given itself. Live better, feel better, even look better – the desire for a good life in conjunction with having the best possible health is growing, particularly with regard to the ageing population. “Our special products for medical and aesthetic applications are in increasing demand,” says Björn Niemczak, facility manager in Dessau-Roßlau. The family-run company from Frankfurt am Main built a production facility for high-quality special products with applications in neurology and aesthetic medicine at the BioPharmaPark in 2002. Xeomin® (botulinum neurotoxin) is manufactured in Dessau-Roßlau and is used for skin smoothing, as well as for treating neurological motor disorders, says Björn Niemczak. Professional experience in the field of sterile, biotechnological production of medicines is needed to master this complex biotechnological process. “There are around 150 production steps and four to six weeks of production time for 20 millilitres of the toxin.” The Dessau facility manager knows exactly what he’s talking about. Born in Wittenberg, he studied pharmaceutical engineering at the Magdeburg University of Applied Sciences. He then gained experience in the industry throughout Germany before coming to the Merz facility in Saxony-Anhalt in 2014. Coming from the Anhalt region himself, he is particularly pleased that the number of attractive jobs with the thriving company is growing.

Culture of innovation encourages employees

The BioPharmaPark in Dessau is one of the 12 Centers of Excellence in Saxony-Anhalt which are characterised by excellent conditions for business and science, and as places for investment and ideas. A new production facility was recently put into operation here by Merz in September 2019. Dermal fillers based on hyaluronic acid are produced here in accordance with universal international standards under clean-room conditions. The modern, three-storey building has had 15 million euros invested into it. The development of the facility enables the company to meet the growing global demand for dermal fillers, says Björn Niemczak. Looking out the window, he can see more open spaces. It was because of this option for expansion, and not least because of the technical competence on site, that Merz decided on BioPharmaPark in Dessau-Roßlau as their future location in March 2002.

The pharmaceutical companies based here benefit from a functioning infrastructure and from the service network. In accordance with its production profile, it is provided with compressed air, cold air, steam and water by Technik-Energie-Wasser Servicegesellschaft mbH (TEW). TEW ensures that the companies can concentrate on their core business, says Björn Niemczak. He also speaks of synergies with the other pharmaceutical companies.

Merz also benefits from the proximity to the science cities of Leipzig and Halle, Magdeburg and Berlin. Engineers, chemists, biologists, pharmacists and lab technicians come from these catchment areas – 150 employees are currently working for Merz in Dessau-Roßlau. The average age is 36 years. Björn Niemczak is 35 and was entrusted with the position of facility manager in the summer of this year. He speaks of the “talent reviews” which regularly take place at the company. Supervisors exchange ideas concerning their employees with the aim of assessing special aptitudes and talents which they can develop for a specific task, for a specific position in the business.

Plant technologies 4.0

Anyone who convinces the company with competence, performance and success will receive creative freedom with commensurate decision-making freedom. The young facility manager experienced this himself on his own career path. The Merz facility in Dessau should also make a name for itself as a development facility. It’s all about optimising plant technology in conjunction with industry 4.0, says Niemczak, stressing that it isn’t simple to automatie processes as for example the production of hyaluronic acid products. “It can be compared to baking a cake in that it is a very hands-on process and its success is also dependent on a number of changing environmental factors. Doctoral students are working on designing statistical experiments around this subject, and the automation engineers have also registered a patent.”

The future belongs to human-machine interaction meaning that production processes can be designed to be more efficient and economical, and that the needs of customers throughout the world can be met, days Björn Niemczak.

He also speaks of other projects concerning the distribution of Merz products from Dessau-Roßlau. In order to reduce the company’s CO2 footprint, products manufactured at the BioPharmaPark should also go out into the world from there. As a result, the next building project will be a modern building for packaging and storage.

Author: Kathrain Graubaum