altona Diagnostics on course for growth

During the visit of State Councilor Andreas Rieckhof, the managing directors report on future plans at the site

The fact that the pandemic has also given a boost to certain sectors of the economy is particularly noticeable at a company like altona Diagnostics, which develops and manufactures in vitro diagnostic tests for the PCR-based detection of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites: “With the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the whole world could imagine something under PCR from one day to the next. This technology, on which we have been relying for more than 25 years and for which the Nobel Prize was awarded in 1993, is also of outstanding importance beyond science,” reports Dr Ulrich Spengler, who founded artus in 1997 as a spin-off from the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and then altona Diagnostics in 2007 together with Dr Markus Hess. What started out as six employees has now grown to around 350, and altona Diagnostics has become a globally active company.

The #LifeScienceTour visited altona Diagnostics: State Councilor Andreas Rieckhof talked to Dr Meike Thiel, Dr Ulrich Spengler, Juliane Worm (LSN), Dr Markus Hess and Wilhelm Dreyer (from left)

Supplier for laboratories around the globe

altona Diagnostics is an owner-managed medical diagnostics company. The company has been in the molecular diagnostics business for over 25 years. It sells its registered products to private and clinical laboratories globally through subsidiaries and more than 40 distribution partners.

The success story is to be continued in Altona

As part of the #LifeScienceTour of the Ministry for Economy and Innovation and Life Science Nord, which has been running since January 2022, State Councilor Andreas Rieckhof and LSN visited altona Diagnostics in – yes, exactly – Altona. The company has had its headquarters in the middle of the Altona-Altstadt district since it was founded. To ensure that this remains the case in the future and that the company’s continuous growth is not slowed down, Dr Spengler and Dr Hess are currently in talks with representatives of the city and the district about possible expansions at the site.

City marketing and research excellence

The company has made remarkable progress. The managing directors are aware that this success is related to numerous factors, and they think outside the box. “Hamburg is a very livable city and ensures that our employees feel at home here, and this location advantage will hopefully help us to recruit more good employees in the future,” says Dr Spengler. Dr Hess notes, however, that in the biotech sector in particular, other locations currently have more top research capacities than the Hanseatic city: “Here we are all challenged to establish the city not only as a nice place to live, but also more strongly as a place for research excellence. Innovation needs the most motivated, talented and best educated people to be able to push to the top in the years to come.”

Active in the Life Science Nord cluster

The fact that altona Diagnostics has a great interest in not just looking at itself and its own success is shown by its years of intensive involvement in the Life Science Nord cluster. As a platinum member, altona Diagnostics is active in numerous project collaborations and participates in topical working groups. “We consider ourselves very fortunate that we have altona Diagnostics as a member of the HIHeal Advisory Board, that we have already been able to welcome employees on a frequent basis as speakers for our online updates, and in this way benefit from the company’s expertise, particularly in the area of infection prevention,” emphasizes Life Science Nord and HIHeal project manager Juliane Worm during the visit.

“altona Diagnostics is one of the life science flagships in Hamburg. The growth plans create the basis for a large, high-quality, medically oriented 'innovation campus'. If global demand increases, production ramps up, and new employees are hired, this can create a pull effect in the industry. As a city, we naturally want to support such a development to the best of our ability,” emphasized State Councilor Andreas Rieckhof.

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