seleon gmbh plays its part in bringing relief to Covid-19 patients with its ventilators. The company develops and manufactures many different types of medical technology products in Saxony-Anhalt. The Dessau-based business is one of nearly 120 companies in the sector who are experiencing consistent growth in Saxony-Anhalt.
Production in Dessau started to gain momentum almost 20 years ago, when still trading under the name of Heptec, with the development and production of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device to treat sleep apnea – when breathing is interrupted during sleep. The range of product services has grown considerably in the meantime. Devices built by seleon are also used in cardiology as well as in imaging procedures, in diagnostics or in the maintenance of equipment. Their product portfolio includes hardware and software. seleon always acts as a service provider; in rare cases, the company name appears on the device – when it is the legal manufacturer on behalf of the client. “We develop, produce and arrange manufacture of the product for the client, from the concept stage right through to the end of the product life cycle,” explains Peter Hartung. “This means that we can support clients from the concept, through development to approval, through clinical trials, series production right through to post-market. Clients can come to us with their innovative ideas, and here at seleon we can transform and develop them.”
The precision engineering graduate has been with the company almost from the beginning and now heads up the Consulting Business Unit. “Dessau is our second-largest site after our headquarters in Heilbronn. Devices are developed and produced across all our sites,” he states. His colleagues from the Production Business Unit in Dessau predominantly work on the installation and testing of electro-mechanical assemblies and devices in the active medical technology segment. Depending on the contract, they also produce single components, small batches and production runs with more than 10,000 pieces.
The company also has sites in Hamburg and Leipzig. The software developers are based in Leipzig and Hamburg, as are the consulting experts, who are responsible for the approval of the devices, both in Germany and globally. This isn’t just about in-house developments,” explains Peter Hartung. “Our clients are start-ups – small and medium-sized companies as well as large ones, who either don’t have sufficient in-house expertise in the areas we do, or who don’t have sufficient capacity for the task in question. The broad portfolio of around 100 employees here at seleon enables our clients to buy precisely the services that they are either unable or unwilling to provide.”
This is how seleon has developed, since it was founded in 1998, into a leading international medical technology development, consulting and production service provider. Most of seleon’s clients come from Germany, Austria and Switzerland but the company has seen some international success, such as in America and Australia.
Well established in the University Triangle
While large parts of development and the consulting activities could now be provided from almost anywhere – from an office or even a home office –, production has a fixed location, in Dessau. If the initial choice of location seemed rather random, on the basis that senior employees lived in the region, seleon soon came to appreciate the advantages. This is mainly because its location, between the central German university campuses of Leipzig, Halle and Magdeburg and close to the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Bernburg and to Köthen and Dessau itself, makes it possible to have short-distance cooperation and contact with skilled workers. “We attract very good engineers here, so we have an experienced and highly-qualified team,” states Peter Hartung.
For many years, seleon has nurtured a partnership with the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg and the medical technology Research Campus STIMULATE, which has broadened the know-how on both sides. For example, seleon also provides support for projects funded by Saxony-Anhalt and other backers that are pursued jointly with the University.
Networks mean mutual support
seleon attaches great importance on valuable partnerships and nurtures effective networks. The list of contacts is long and includes internationally renowned establishments like Johns Hopkins University Hospital as well as regional associations. This also includes innoMed, the medical technology network in Saxony-Anhalt. With the opportunities for human contact now increasing after the drastic Covid restrictions, networks can be further expanded. Not only are they a source of mutually beneficial inspiration, they also of course help seleon generate new clients. “Medical technology in Saxony-Anhalt is gaining further momentum. Those of us in the consulting sector in the Magdeburg region want to use our expertise to support this accordingly,” says Peter Hartung, looking ahead. Here, there is a growing need. He sees the greatest potential for further business development coming from start-ups, who can draw on the service provider’s portfolio and implement their ideas efficiently as a result.
With this medical technology cluster, Saxony-Anhalt is supporting young companies as well as established businesses. Many of the companies are among the leaders in their field in the development and manufacture of innovative medical technology products, whether it is in the field of prevention, diagnosis, therapy or service.
seleon’s ability to develop innovative solutions for its clients is demonstrated by the 37 patents granted and around 50 patents applied for since the company was founded. For example, the company has a patent for an algorithm that ensures the correct air supply in a CPAP device so that there is no respiratory failure during sleep.
Innovation requires continuing education, not just for product development, but also – and significantly – in the area of consulting. To be able to reliably and successfully provide clients with the necessary advice and support globally, the seleon consultants must be constantly up-to-date with the latest and most current knowledge. “In the Consulting Business Unit, we dedicate up to 20 per cent of our time to new or amended issues.” Peter Hartung stresses the importance of continuing education: “This continuing education doesn’t just open up new opportunities to us, it is also an investment in the future.”
Author: Renate Wähnelt/IMG Saxony-Anhalt