IPEC e-newsletter - Excipients Insight May 2017 - 31-05-17


Inside this issue


Introducing the new IPEC Europe Chair

At the beginning of this month, Frithjof Holtz, representing Merck KGaA and formerly vice chair of IPEC Europe, was appointed as chair of the association. Frank Milek, the out-going chair, representing Aug. Hedinger GmbH & Co. KG took the position of vice-chair.

In our last edition, Frank shared his thoughts on his five years at the helm of IPEC Europe, and now it is time to hear from Frithjof – who will of course be well-known to many of our members – as he takes on the leadership of the association.

EI: For those among the IPEC Europe who don't know you personally, can you give a brief history of your educational background and career, and what motivates you professionally?

I am a biologist and have been working for more than 26 years with Merck in Darmstadt in Germany. I started in the field of waste water treatment for the site in Darmstadt and worked there for nearly 10 years. At the end of that period I stayed for eight months in Brazil, working on a project for our natural products business. After my return to Germany I moved on to production of dehydrated culture media, in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs) and cosmetic raw materials. The next step was to work for two years in quality assurance in our pharmaceuticals division. Since 2005 I have been in the chemicals division - now known as Merck Life Science - taking on different roles in regulatory affairs (CMC) for pharmaceutical starting materials and consumables. Currently I am responsible for the coordination of the advocacy & regulatory surveillance activities. Along with my work with IPEC, I have many years of experience contributing to other industry associations such as Rx-360, APIC, EFCG and more recently PDA.

What motivates me is working with people in an international environment. The reason I really like working in an industry association is that you have mixed teams - sometimes with completely different backgrounds - but who are intrinsically motivated to bring a joint topic forward.

EI: Can you tell us a little about your personal life – what are your interests and hobbies for example – so our members can get to know a little more about the man 'sitting in the hot seat’?

During my time in Brazil I met my wife, who also worked for Merck. We have now been married for nearly 20 years and have strong family bonds to Brazil. It is a beautiful country and we try to travel to Brazil at least every other year. The culture and mentality of the Brazilian people is very different to what we see in Germany, and I enjoy the contrast as this keeps me aware of different views on life. We live in Darmstadt with our two dogs and I enjoy walking with them in nature. I really relax in nature and biology is my passion.

EI: As you take over as chair of the association – what is your vision for taking it forward, and what are your priorities for the next 12 months?

First of all I want to bring forward the objectives of IPEC for 2017 in line with our Agenda 2020 and accompanying roadmap. These were agreed by the board and presented to the members at the General Assembly in February. The road map is ambitious and covers all important aspects for the next years. Another important area is our contribution to IPEC Federation which becomes in a globalized world more and more important.

EI: What do you see as the biggest challenges affecting IPEC Europe, and excipients suppliers and users in general, in the coming years?

Innovation will be one of the main challenges. The pharmaceutical industry is developing more and more in the direction of monoclonal antibodies, biosimilars, advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) such as cell and gene therapies, for example. For sure there will still be big market for classical, small molecule therapies, but real innovation is in the field of large molecules. And the biopharma industry has specific requirements concerning quality, traceability and supply. So the excipients industry needs to understand these needs and to find appropriate answers. For that reason, we will be trying to encourage more biopharma companies to join IPEC Europe to help create - in a non-competitive environment - a platform for sharing such know-how.

EI: Do you have any words for the past chair of IPEC Europe?

Frank has been an outstanding leader and achieved a phenomenal amount for IPEC Europe during his chairmanship. To name just a few: the move of IPEC Europe from an association registered in France to Belgium, which enabled us to save taxes and simplified administration; the move to a dedicated IPEC Europe Office - with Carole Capitaine and Joanne Blondiau providing excellent support for IPEC Europe and since last year Adrian Bone as Senior Advisor; and his support in developing EXCiPACT to its current position as a standalone non-profit organization. His vision is also mirrored in the IPEC Europe Agenda 2020, which we will complete step by step.




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