How Nordmark is on course for growth with biotechnology

How Nordmark is on course for growth with biotechnology

Enjoying more than 550 employees and global operations, Nordmark is a hidden champion. The family-owned pharma company is set for growth and has invested 20 million euros in order to expand its biomanufacturing capacities. Recently, a new Northern partnership has started.

Nordmark: One of the largest distributors of finished medicinal products and pancreatin

Nordmark Pharma GmbH has a long tradition in manufacturing biological active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and finished medicinal products which originate from animal sources. The main product manufactured by the company based in Uetersen, a town close to Hamburg, is the enzyme pancreatin. It is extracted from porcine pancreases and the product is distributed globally.

For many years, Nordmark also operated Europe’s largest snake farm. More than 600 poisonous Malayan pit vipers were kept in a building south of the company’s site, and regularly milked to obtain the API Ancrod, an enzyme with antithrombotic properties. In 2019 after Ancrod delivered disappointing results in clinical phase II trials in patients with sudden hearing loss, management at Nordmark drew a line under the snake farm project.

More than 20 million euros invested in biotechnology

“We decided to invest more than 20 million euros in expanding our biotechnology business – for our own products and our contract manufacturing services,” says Nordmark CEO Jörn Tonne. For ten years, the chemist has been at the helm of the family-owned pharma company which has more than 550 employees.

The specialist in manufacturing biological APIs and drug products has successfully positioned itself internationally and is set for growth. Recently, the former snake farm building was transformed into a state-of-the-art biotechnology center. Where once vipers lived in terrarium boxes, now flashes the stainless steel of pipework and bioreactors. They are ready to house microorganisms or mammalian cell culture systems up to a scale of several hundred liters in order to manufacture biological APIs according to the standards of current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP).

Dr. Jörn Tonne, CEO & Managing Director of Nordmark © Nordmark
Dr. Jörn Tonne, CEO & Managing Director of Nordmark © Nordmark

Treating cancer in children: Nordmark pursues these goals

A new biomanufacturing project has now started. “In partnership with a pharma company from North Germany, we will manufacture a therapeutic protein by microbial fermentation,” Tonne explains. Although he cannot provide further details on the product and the partner, he highlights that the protein produced is an API used for the treatment of cancer in children. “Our partner was looking for a new manufacturing specialist and was highly impressed by our biopharmaceutical expertise,” says Tonne.

Seeking long-term partnerships

He views the new partnership as a good representation of Nordmark’s new business model. “We are ready to invest in partnerships and share the risk,” he says and stresses that, “For us, partnerships are always long-term.”

Nordmark’s speciality is that it can offer support along the entire value chain, says Tonne. This includes

  • process development,
  • pharmaceutical development,
  • production of clinical trial medication,
  • regulatory support,
  • and regular market supply.

“This combination of special expertise with tailormade support for our customers has recently led to a significant increase in requests and collaboration offers,” Tonne says.

In addition to partnerships, digitalisation is also being driven forward

Apart from giving its biotech business a boost, Nordmark is busy with the digitalisation of its processes. One of the company’s most important projects is to implement a manufacturing execution system in order to control and monitor production digitally. By partnering with Werum IT Solutions GmbH, Nordmark is collaborating with another player from Northern Germany. “That makes our production processes faster, safer and more efficient,” says Tonne.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers in the north

Enjoying an added gross value of 1.9 billion euros and around 20,000 employees, the biotech & pharmaceuticals sector is the largest sub-sector (43%) of the Life Science Nord Cluster. Some 250 companies from the region conduct biotechnological research for medical and industrial applications. Apart from Nordmark, which has been covered in this article, there are several other pharmaceutical giants and larger trading companies from the pharmaceutical industry operating in this region. Among others, AstraZeneca, Desitin, Medac and Richter-Helm develop and market innovative pharmaceutical products in and from Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg.

Here you can find more information about the life science region in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg.

Featured image: © Nordmark


Further posts

HIV gene-editing therapy heads to the clinic

Business Nord|Innovation|Science & Translation HIV gene-editing therapy heads to the clinic

Provirex’ innovative genome editing therapy enables the elimination of persistent viral genomes from infected cells. The start-up is building a therapy hub in the future Science City Hamburg Bahrenfeld.

Stem cell medicine in the North: The report

Science & Translation Stem cell medicine in the North: The report

When the experts meet in Hamburg in July for the most important global congress in stem cell research – the ISSCR Annual Meeting – many regional players from the Life Science Nord cluster will also be there. A guide to the region's major players in research and industry in the stem cell field.

AI and crystals: “We provide the blueprint for innovative drug design”

Portrait AI and crystals: “We provide the blueprint for innovative drug design”

The start-up CrystalsFirst specializes in structural biological analyses of protein crystals for drug development. The team has been based at DESY in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld since 2022. In this interview, founder and CEO Serghei Glinca talks about the technology and the structural biology ecosystem in the North of Germany.