Ten years ago, Gerjan Kemperman expected that the demand for CDMO services would increase enormously. So when the R&D activities left Oss in 2012, he and a colleague started the company ChemConnection at Pivot Park to ‘fill the gap’ and offer development and manufacturing services of active pharmaceutical ingredients to biotech companies. A good decision as his company, nowadays called Ardena, has grown rapidly.
CDMO services is a flourishing market
“Ardena is a Customer Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) – and facilitates companies that aim to test their new experimental drug in clinical trials,” says Kemperman. “When a new drug candidate is discovered in a lab, it’s usually only available in small quantities. We look at ways of making larger quantities and then produce the quantities required by our clients.”
“In addition, Ardena investigates how the drug can be administered, for example in a capsule or tablet, referred to as the ‘formulation’, and produces the required quantities of the formulation for clinical trials. We also write the regulatory dossier, detailing the manufacturing process and analytical controls for both the API and the formulation. Lastly, we provide bioanalytical support to our customers, thus analysis of the blood, urine and faeces samples from patients participating in the clinical trial.”
The demand for Ardena’s specialised services has increased significantly. This has enabled Ardena to achieve double digit growth figures over the past decade. Ardena’s client base comprises of biotech companies as well as midsized and large pharmaceutical companies.
Kemperman continues, “In 2012, I started ChemConnection together with Ferry Brands, one of my former colleagues from Organon/MSD. At Pivot Park we basically found everything we needed to make a quick start, including labs and specialist equipment. This enabled us an ultra-fast start. Pivot Park offered our small start-up credibility and a much better appearance than if we had started on a generic industry park. ChemConnection grew at lightning speed and by 2018 we had over 70 employees. It was then that we decided to sell ChemConnection to Ardena, a company of around 120 employees that was offering fully complementary services. I reinvested and became shareholder of Ardena where I am currently the COO.”
Ardena has continued to grow strongly both organically and through acquisitions. The company currently has locations in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Latvia employing over 500 people. The Ardena site at Pivot Park has 110 employees. “We’re looking to expand considerably and also in Oss we are currently realizing new laboratory and production facilities to continue our growth. This way we can continue to make an important contribution to Global Health!”
Ardena is a CDMO, offering development and manufacturing services and bioanalysis to support companies that aim to investigate new drugs in clinical trials. The company has grown rapidly over the past decade, both organically and through acquisitions. Ardena is headquartered in Belgium, and also has sites in the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Latvia. Ardena employs approximately 500 people, of which 110 work at the Pivot Park site.