MORE HARMONIZATION FOR MORE PATIENT SAFETY
Interview with Dr. Birgit Schumacher, General Manager and Site Manager Martinsried of GBA Pharma GmbH
GBA Pharma GmbH is one of the leading service providers for the pharmaceutical industry in Europe. The company supports its customers along the entire pharmaceutical value chain, from the optimization of drug candidates to global clinical trials. Wirtschaftsforum spoke with Dr. Birgit Schumacher, General Manager and Site Manager Martinsried, about the company's development over the past three years and its importance for patient safety.
Wirtschaftsforum: Mrs. Schumacher, your company has been part of the GBA Group since 2017. What changes have there been in the three years?
Birgit Schumacher: We have been part of the laboratory group, which specializes in analytics and services in the food, pharmaceutical and environmental sectors, for three years. During this time, we have continued to harmonize our three sites in Gräfelfing, Martinsried and Ulm. There is now an overarching quality management system, an electronic document management system and harmonized analysis software at all three sites. In Martinsried, we now only work with electronic raw data and signatures in the chromatography area. We want to implement this at the other two sites as well. We also plan to introduce a laboratory information and management system to standardize operational processes.
Wirtschaftsforum: Why is the harmonization of the three sites so important for GBA Pharma?
Birgit Schumacher: We currently have three good sites and 170 great employees. Through harmonization, we work much more efficiently and can offer our customers services from a single source. We only have special technologies at one site at a time, but customers know that they will always get the same quality. We have expert groups for specific topics made up of members from all three sites. This means that the interests of all sites are taken into account, we learn a lot from each other, and best practice solutions are created. There are quite a few competitors with multiple sites, but none have our level of harmonization.
Wirtschaftsforum: In the future, you will only have two sites?
Birgit Schumacher: Yes, we are currently merging the Gräfelfing and Martinsried sites at the Neuried campus. A state-of-the-art building with 2,400 m² of laboratory space is being built here, which is scheduled to be occupied at the beginning of 2022. We are thus creating the conditions for capacity expansion and further growth.
Wirtschaftsforum: That means you are not affected by the Corona crisis?
Birgit Schumacher: We are not currently experiencing any losses, as the market for pharmaceuticals continues to grow. The challenge was more that you can't take analytics equipment into the home office and we had to continue to work on site.
Wirtschaftsforum: What are your main areas of activity?
Birgit Schumacher: We are very close to production in the value chain of the pharmaceutical industry. We test the raw materials for production as well as the finished drug. Another important area is drugs that are still in development. We then check, for example, how stable the active ingredient is when it is compressed into a tablet, or whether something can get into the tablet through the production process. We have a very big responsibility. In everything we do, our guiding principle is patient safety.
Wirtschaftsforum: With all the technology you use, what role do the employees play in this?
Birgit Schumacher: Patient safety is the top priority for all employees. At the same time, the employees who are in contact with the customer look after each project with great passion.
Wirtschaftsforum: What goals have you set for the coming years?
Birgit Schumacher: First and foremost, to further improve throughput times, because the production cycles at our customers are becoming ever tighter. The use of digital technology, both in the commercial area and in the laboratory, is helping us to achieve this. We work with as little paper as possible and use more and more databases and electronic signatures. Employees with different management responsibilities have to sign off on different processes. This leads to a large circulation of documents, where you can otherwise lose a lot of time.
Wirtschaftsforum: Are there any other future topics?
Birgit Schumacher: Of growing importance for us are drugs to combat cancer and biopharmaceuticals, a subfield of pharmacy that deals with assessing the efficacy of drugs. Overall, the business is growing. Customers are now also coming to us from outside the DACH region, especially from Scandinavia, the USA and Israel. It's very exciting to work with many customers, because you get to know very different company structures. It also helps us to rethink our own structure and make the three locations into a powerful whole.
Read the original article in WIRTSCHAFTSFORUM in German: https://www.wirtschaftsforum.de/interviews/gba-pharma-gmbh/mehr-harmonisierung-fuer-mehr-patientensicherheit