Biotechnology

From manufacturer of analytical balances to provider of innovative solutions for the biopharmaceutical industry: Who stands behind Sartorius?

Wednesday, 23.09.2020. - 09:00

Sartorius is a company with a rich history backed by pioneers and visionaries who have turned a small manufacturer of analytical balances into a high-quality provider of innovative solutions and technologies for the biopharmaceutical industry. The company's technologies are its main advantage and offer added value and solutions for each stage in the biopharmaceutical production process. The potential of the company has been recognized at a fairly early stage of its development - the company has since carefully aligned its product and service portfolio with industry requirements. Today, Sartorius highlights its capabilities as an innovative solution provider for biopharmaceutical research and industry.

Even large companies have to start small — with an individual driven by a pioneering spirit and a good idea. This also is how the story of the global player Sartorius started 150 years ago. When Florenz Sartorius laid the foundations for a new company in Göttingen, Germany, in 1870 that soon evolved into a “factory for scientific instruments and equipment”, he had ambitious plans — and more than enough energy to turn them into reality.

A clear vision coupled with pioneering spirit have been the driving forces behind the development of Sartorius to this day. Meanwhile, more than 9,000 employees at 60 sites work hard at this life science and biotech company to ensure that customers receive innovative tools and technologies enabling them to develop new drugs more quickly and produce them more cost effectively. The production of innovative membrane filters has laid the foundations for Sartorius' advanced bioprocess technology.

University of Göttingen — a Hotbed of Innovation

Under its official title of Georg August University of Göttingen, the university already then enjoyed a reputation of world renown, attracting luminaries like Gauss, Wöhler and Weber. The university was not only a place of research and learning, but also a source of business for mechanical engineering workshops. Particularly the laboratories in the chemistry department needed high-precision instruments like thermometers, balances, and many others, providing the foundations for a flourishing small local network of precision engineering firms. At one of them — mechanical engineering specialist Wilhelm Apel — a young Florenz Sartorius learned his trade as a precision engineer and followed in the footsteps of his father. Today, we would refer to this inspiring network of firms around Göttingen as an innovation cluster, and the young company called Sartorius would be known as a start-up.

Beginners of membrane filtration

The actual foundations for today’s bioprocess business can be traced to the development of novel synthetic filters — so-called membrane filters. This innovative filtration technique was invented by Richard Zsigmondy, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and his scientific research associate Wilhelm Bachmann. The first patent has the number DE 329060 C. With this groundbreaking work in conjunction with the Göttinger Sartorius-Werke, he creates the basis for Germany's eminent position in the world of membrane technology.

Since then, Sartorius has invested much of his research efforts in the scientific foundations of membrane technology. Development experts have learned to better understand the relationship between structure, fine pore size, and filtration mechanisms. The number of applications and types of filters then increased, adding new applications in the food industry, with the development of the first stainless steel filtration devices for ultrafiltration. Thanks to the introduction of filters and filtration devices in its range, Sartorius has opened up new possibilities in molecular biology and pharmaceutical production.

A Game-changing Decision: Biopharmaceuticals

Strategic innovation management has now become a key to success for Sartorius, going forward. The company has been pursuing its main objective of improving existing process solutions and identifying and integrating the potential of new technologies early on. Sartorius decided to concentrate on the biopharmaceutical industry, which experienced a technological boom in the second half of the 20th century. Thanks to sophisticated therapeutic approaches and innovative gene therapies, the industry has progressed rapidly. With the acquisition of the French company Stedim Biosystems, disposable bags are being introduced with the development of scalable bioreactors. The company has further expanded its range with cell culture media and automated systems for the production of vaccines, therapeutic agents and monoclonal antibodies.

The latest highlight of the company is certainly the acquisition of Danaher, which introduces devices for protein analysis, biosensors and reagents for research of active ingredients, as well as chromatographic systems and other technology for further processing.

A Success Story with a Bright Future

In its anniversary year of 2020, Sartorius has emerged with a new brand image and the new claim "Simplifying Progress" — a step that reflects the company's dynamic development. The Group’s ambitious growth targets highlight quite how much potential for growth there still is in the success story of Sartorius. By 2025, the company plans to more than double its revenue from around 1.8 billion euros (2019) to 4.0 billion euros. The Group aims to grow organically, particularly in the Asian and American markets. In addition, further acquisitions are expected to expand the product portfolio and increase customer benefits even further. Sartorius Campus at headquarters in Göttingen, offers plenty of room for pioneers, forward-thinkers with ideas and visions, and researchers to achieve technological breakthroughs — perfectly in keeping with the ideals of company founder Florenz Sartorius.

Read the original article on the official website of the Process Worldwide.