International collaborations that have been established for decades have also taken sudden quantum leaps. Takeda is one case in point: Japan’s biggest pharma company recently opened a second plant in Singen, Baden-Württemberg, for producing an inoculation against dengue fever (see page 9), taking advantage of 40 years of local know-how, particularly in freeze drying. “The expertise of our colleagues at this location is flowing directly into future vaccine production at the plant,” says Takeda spokesman Andreas Hundt.
Since 2016, Takeda has invested EUR 200 million in the Singen site. “Setting up a completely new vaccine factory is very complex,” Hundt says. “Such a process can take several years. Now the goal is within reach.” That’s thanks in part to the Baden-Württemberg government, which was quick to provide the necessary planning and building permissions. If all goes well, production of the dengue fever vaccine will begin in 2025.
Hundt says that there is a broad range of reasons for leading pharma companies to partner up in Germany. “Major indications of quality are the well-educated skilled workforce, the excellent technical facilities and the proximity to other sectors – for example, mechanical engineering,” he explains. “That’s a crucial advantage for a business location. Pharmaceuticals are highly complex products that require several challenging steps to ensure consistently high quality. This combination of specialist and technical expertise has developed over many years and can be found in Germany.”
Hundt also underlines the importance of the German capital Berlin, where Takeda’s distribution center is based. “Here in the heart of the capital, the company can communicate and network with all the most important stakeholders,” he says. “From specialist and sector associations, patients’ organizations, and health insurers all the way to health policy politicians.”
Berlin, he adds, also boasts a high concentration of creative companies, start-ups, universities and research institutes specializing in life sciences.