Future Lab: Lord Mayor visits the researchers at Grünenthal
This is “Future Lab Aachen” at work. Aachen’s Lord Mayor Marcel Philipp’s plan was to promote awareness of the research and innovative potential of the City of Aachen. With success – and not only in cooperation with the city’s four universities. Research companies are also endorsing his message: the future really is being shaped in Aachen!
Aachen 07.02.2017. Grünenthal is shaping the future of public health. That became very clear during a visit to the company’s campus in Aachen-Eilendorf, where Marcel Philipp was greeted by the new CEO of the Grünenthal Group, Gabriel Baertschi, and the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), Klaus-Dieter Langner. They gave their eminent guest and his companions from the city administration a tour through the new research building, opened in 2016, where 150 scientists are busy working in the building’s three floors of laboratories to advance the development of innovative medicinal products.
Since 2011, Grünenthal has invested more than € 131 million in grounds, buildings and production equipment on the premises in Eilendorf. Relative to its turnover, the Aachen-based company puts considerably more money than is usual the case in this sector into its fully integrated research and development department. Grünenthal has many years of experience in innovative pain management and the development of state-of-the-art technology for patients.
The “Pain Atlas” pinpoints the forms and causes of pain
The exchange was as informative as it was relaxed. “The City of Aachen and the region benefits from the highly qualified workplaces at Grünenthal. In view of demographic change, innovative medical solutions are more important than ever – and Grünenthal is making a significant contribution in this regard,” said the Lord Mayor, summarising his impressions.
The explanations in the labs were indeed impressive, and the “Pain Atlas” – developed by Grünenthal researchers to describe the various forms and causes of pain and to research suitable therapies for them – was highly informative. In a panel debate after the tour, the Lord Mayor held a discussion with Grünenthal’s CEO Gabriel Baertschi and CSO Klaus-Dieter Langner. The main points discussed were location-related topics and the company’s further plans. Gabriel Baertschi reiterated that Grünenthal aims to put four or five innovative new medicinal products on the market by 2022. These will address indications with a high unmet medical need for which no suitable therapies are currently available. Gabriel Baertschi underlined the attractiveness of the location for the achievement of these objectives. “The university city offers many possibilities to connect with researchers. Our cooperation with the start-up company Adhesys Medical for the development of a novel wound adhesive is just one of many examples for the innovative strength of this region.”
“Aachen is the headquarters of our research and development department. And we’re significantly increasing our R&D budget, which will reach € 400 million by 2025 – a strong signal for Aachen as a research location,” added Klaus-Dieter Langner, who, during the meeting with Lord Mayor Philipp, also confirmed that Grünenthal would continue its involvement as a main sponsor of “Future Lab Aachen” in the current year.
The Grünenthal Group is present in a total of 32 countries, with affiliates in Europe, Latin America and the USA. Grünenthal products are sold in more than 155 countries and the Grünenthal Group currently employs a worldwide staff of close to 5,400. Group turnover in 2015 was € 1.2 billion. According to CEO Baertschi, the mid-term target for turnover is € 2 billion. Grünenthal is a family-owned traditional enterprise headquartered in Aachen.
Lord Mayor Marcel Philipp with the CEO of the Grünenthal Group Gabriel Baertschi (3rd from left), CSO Dr. Klaus-Dieter Langner (right) and staff members of the Grünenthal research department (Photo: Andreas Herrmann)
Four months on the job: Grünenthal's new CEO, Gabriel Baertschi (Photo: Andreas Herrmann)
Klaus-Dieter Langner, Lord Mayor Marcel Philipp and Gabriel Baertschi with Grünenthal doctoral students (Photo: Andreas Herrmann)
Trainees present their training lab. (Photo: Andreas Herrmann)
Bernd Büttgens, spokesman for the City of Aachen, Lord Mayor Marcel Philipp, CEO Gabriel Baertschi, CSO Klaus-Dieter Langner and company spokesman Steffen Fritzsche in conversation (Photo: Andreas Herrmann)