The Healthcare Hub Freiburg

Shaping the future of pharmaceutical manufacturing

March 2018 saw the opening of the Freiburg Hub as a complement to the Hub in Berlin. The production site is not simply a driver of the manufacturing, production and rollout of new pharmaceuticals, it also searches for, identifies and encourages the further development of digital innovations.

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Pfizer sees innovation as the ongoing exploration of uncharted terrain. Three years after the founding of our Pfizer Healthcare Hub in Berlin, this principle has led to the establishment of hubs at other Pfizer sites around the globe. We are equally committed to forging closer links between industry, the healthcare sector and the innovative world of start-ups, spin-offs and tech-companies at our production site in Freiburg. This is the home of experimentation and collaboration – above all with innovators from the technical and digital sectors of the healthcare industry.

As is the case for all other Pfizer Healthcare Hubs around the globe, there is no strictly defined collaboration model for the hub in Freiburg. Collaborative ventures may range from concrete challenges, international contacts, mentoring by the Pfizer network of experts, access to market insights to connectivity with the Berlin Hub and the hubs in other countries.

The Freiburg production site: highly automated and sustainable – thanks to collaborations

With an annual output of around six billion tablets, capsules and lozenges and around 200 million packaging units for 150 markets around the world, the Freiburg manufacturing facility is ranked among the world’s most efficient pharmaceutical production sites. The site is above all characterised by its high lean-manufacturing competencies and is regarded a pioneer of environmental protection and sustainability within the pharmaceuticals industry. The site’s automated process monitoring and optimisation procedures, lean manufacturing methods and improved energy-efficiency are supported by innovative Industry 4.0 technologies developed and implemented in the course of long-established collaborations. For example, the STAR Programme (Solar Technologies applied to Absorption wheels Regeneration), originally a research project by students of the University of Offenburg and the Centre for Renewable Energy in Freiburg, has since been implemented as an industrial-scale high-tech solution. A further example is the newly constructed continuous manufacturing technologies (CMT) plant inaugurated in 2017. In terms of sustainability, this represents a significant step forward for our manufacturing processes. The laboratory-scale concept was realised as a viable, industrial-scale solution in a collaboration between our plant and the professors and students of the Universities of Offenburg, Freiburg and Sigmaringen. 

A common goal: innovative patient healthcare

 As is the case with the Pfizer Healthcare Hub Berlin, the objective of the Hub in Freiburg is the creation of a forum in which we can utilise digital technologies to break new ground in the healthcare segment. Our common goal is the sustainable improvement of the lives of patients around the globe – beginning with the production of pharmaceuticals. Our first step on the path to this goal was to acquire an overview of the innovation and founder ecosystem in the Baden-Württemberg region. The broad spectrum of innovations already created by start-ups, spin-offs and tech-companies in the industrial and healthcare segments in Baden-Württemberg is truly impressive. We are convinced that a vibrant spirit of innovation and visionary founders, expertise from various segments and the passion for making things happen can play an essential role in the fulfilment of our mission. This is why Pfizer in Freiburg is equally committed to our policy of even more efficient and effective connectivity between the various innovators. Our common objective is the development of marketable solutions that create added value for patients. In this way, we not only assure that the Baden-Württemberg site remains competitive, but also secure the long-term provision of patient healthcare ‘Made in Germany’. 

How can we take the first step in this direction?

 In Freiburg, the Pfizer Healthcare Hub and partners from the Baden-Württemberg region will be launching a new programme of events under the title ‘Innovation Dialogue’. The Innovation Dialogue is a forum in which we wish to discuss concrete usage scenarios and talk about potential solutions with national and international participants. 

The agenda in Freiburg also includes other formats. In addition to the Innovation Dialogue, we also wish to seek exchange on various areas of the more nuanced research landscape on other platforms, for instance, in the areas of grass-roots and applications research. At the same time, Freiburg will serve as a lookout post for potential projects with relevant regional accelerators. In this role, the Pfizer Healthcare Hub in Freiburg will work in close cooperation with the Healthcare Hub in Berlin. In its function as a bridge between the areas of life science and Industry 4.0, Freiburg is a logical complement to the hub in Berlin.

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Healthcare Hub Berlin - from a local lab to the starting point of a global hub network

The Healthcare Hub Berlin, the interface between Pfizer Germany, and founders and start-ups in the healthcare sector. A support programme for start-ups? Yes, but with a flexible and collaborative approach. In the following, we explain what the Pfizer Healthcare Hub is about and how it evolved.

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