From Farmland to Healthcare
The area around the town of Anklam in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is traditionally agricultural. Now, healthcare companies from Germany and abroad are discovering the benefits of the northern German location.
If you search for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern online, you may well find photos of sand dunes, flowering fields and blue lakes but not so many of industrial activity or busy urban life. Over half of the area of the northern German state is still used for agriculture and so, unsurprisingly, the food industry is the biggest employer in the region.
But in recent years, the state has been harnessing its rural tradition to attract new business from home and abroad. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is rich in raw plant-based materials that companies from the food and pharmaceutical industries can use for their production. Consequently, many companies from these sectors find it convenient to settle there – for example, in and around Anklam, close to the Baltic coast.
In the production hall of Swiss medtech company Ypsomed, technician Liane Haberland examines a cartridge holder for insulin syringes, which was manufactured using an injection moulding machine. The company produces infusion sets for diabetics and injection devices for administering liquid medication. To date, EUR 100 million has been invested in buildings (including the new production plant near Anklam, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), infrastructure and planned production. © Jens Büttner, dpa picture alliance
Fertile ground for pharmaceuticals
The fertile, agrarian region offers a number of clear advantages for healthcare companies. Up to 200ha of land have been earmarked for industrial production and settlements and prices are still comparatively low. For companies who need a lot of space for production halls or cultivation areas, the Anklam district is ideal. The proximity to the Baltic Sea is an asset for exports to Denmark, Poland, Finland and the Baltic states. Goods can also be quickly transported to the Czech Republic or the Netherlands by freeway.
The Swiss Rehau Group was one of the first to recognize Anklam’s geographical advantages 12 years ago. Under the brand “Anklam Extrakt,” the Swiss produce plant extracts for the pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics, and beverage industries in the province. In 2017, the company expanded its Anklam site and hired additional specialists. “We produce and sell high-quality plant extracts for the food and pharmaceutical industries worldwide and focus on quality ‘made in Germany,’” says Mirko Bröcker, managing director of Anklam Extrakt.
State support for export businesses
The company received substantial financial support from the public sector. There are two prerequisites to qualify for such subsidies: Permanent new jobs must be created and the services or products must be distributed beyond the borders of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The federal state is actively supporting foreign and export-strong entrepreneurs through the initiative.
Every fifth employee in the former agricultural state now works in the healthcare or pharmaceutical industries. It has the fastest-growing healthcare economy in Germany.
Source: Masterplan Healthcare Economy 2020 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Hitting its healthcare targets
The state funding package is particularly attractive for companies from the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has put measures in place to nurture its healthcare industry – and is hitting its targets. Every fifth employee in the state now works in this sector. “With this share, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is at the top of all federal states,” says the state government. Between 2008 and 2017, the gross value added by the healthcare industry increased by an average of 5 percent per year, and this sector alone contributes around 15 percent to the state’s total gross value added. This makes Mecklenburg-Vorpommern the state with the fastest-growing healthcare economy in Germany.
Anklam’s Swiss connection
The Swiss are swelling their numbers in this state by the Baltic Sea, attracted by the locational advantages: In 2019, Ypsomed opened a production plant for medical technology for the treatment of diabetes near Anklam. The company makes use of the considerable healthcare expertise in the region. “The location offers ideal conditions, especially for qualified employees,” comments Simon Michel, CEO of Ypsomed. The Swiss company has spent EUR 100 million so far on buildings, infrastructure and planned production.