ChemConnection is a young, fast-growing and innovative company for contract research and medicine production. Their expertise lies in the field of high-potency compounds, carbohydrates, steroids and peptides. Established in 2012, the Dutch company also developed itself into one of the leading companies in the world in terms of the production of nanomedicine.
A lot of analytical work is done at ChemConnection, for which they have a top-notch laboratory that is certified according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). The laboratory information management system (LIMS) also requires a GMP-compliant IT infrastructure and data servers. The criteria:
- Data server must be GMP-compliant;
- Protection against hackers and other intruders;
- Continuity must be guaranteed;
- The supplier must be able to set up and perform maintenance on the data server;
- The supplier must have experience with the Life Sciences market.
ChemConnection opts for Iperion. The ‘trust’ factor plays a major part in the final decision. CEO Gerjan Kemperman: ‘When it comes down to it, a decision is not only made on the basis of price or location. Trust also carries a lot of weight. Trust is essential. To us, it is important to know that our major IT infrastructure is in the hands of an IT provider we trust completely.’
ChemConnection and Iperion have been working together to full satisfaction for eighteen months now. ChemConnection’s building management system (BMS) must be extracted from the system of the building’s previous owner in 2016. To this end, the company has ordered a separate BMS data server from Iperion.
Iperion’s strength according to ChemConnection:
- Track record;
- High-quality knowledge of the material;
- Fast service and support.
Story: quality and trust
After pharmaceutical concern MSD stops research & development (R&D) in Oss, the Netherlands, former employees Gerjan Kemperman and Ferry Brands start up the ChemConnection company in the unoccupied GMP test plant. The company specialises in the development and production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (api) and nanomedicine.
Co-founder and general director Gerjan Kemperman: ‘We started at a time the market was practically standing still due to the economic and financial crises. However, we saw an opportunity. The major pharmaceutical companies ceased their R&D activities. Research is increasingly done by small biotech companies to an increasing extent. These innovative startup companies do not have the expertise nor the facilities to produce and analyse medicine for clinical studies, which is where the opportunities lie for a company like ChemConnection.’
After signing the first four contracts, Kemperman and Brands knew they had enough orders to allow them to hire five employees and keep the test plant running for a year. The company has been growing steadily ever since. With its 35 employees, ChemConnection works for highly innovative companies in Europe, the United States and Israel. A large part of the company’s success is due to the development of nanomedicine. Gerjan Kemperman: ‘We were one of the first companies who were able to offer it. We are now the contact research organisation that has developed the most nanomedicine in the world.’
Initially, the focus was exclusively on process development and production. Analysis of the end products was outsourced, because, as Kemperman explains, you cannot take care of everything with a small team. This all changed when production increased: ‘We have to be able to perform the analytical quality control for our end products ourselves.’
In 2014, ChemConnection recruits experts to help them with this and the company opens its own GMP-certified laboratory fitted with a laboratory information management system (LIMS). ‘In a heavily regulated industry like the pharmaceutical industry, any errors in saving or storing data and the interpretation thereof are preferably avoided. This requires a lot from your data storage and data management,’ states Kemperman.
In order to be completely in accordance with the GMP requirements, the underlying IT infrastructure and data servers must also be GMP-compliant. ChemConnection is looking for a qualified IT provider that can provide state-of-the-art security and can guarantee continuity. ‘If the server system shuts down, then fifteen people in our lab literally cannot do their work, which makes continuity a vital criterion.’
ChemConnection chooses to outsource to a company that has experience and clients in the Life Sciences industry. They are looking for a company that not only provides data servers, but also installs and maintains them. After extensive research, Iperion made the short list along with another company. Gerjan Kemperman explains the decision. ‘In a playing field with a limited number of suppliers, you opt for quality and reliability. A choice is not always made based on price or location; trust plays a major part as well: do I feel confident that this team can do the work? After all, it concerns essential business processes. As it is crucial for our customers that we do not fail them in making clinical batches, it is important to us that our IT is in the hands of a company that delivers quality and that we can trust.’
Implementing and installing the LIMS system at ChemConnection was done under the supervision of the IT manager and the Director Quality Assurance. Together, they know which quality requirements the IT infrastructure must meet and how the LIMS system should work. Even during their first meetings with Iperion’s team, they immediately felt that the project would be in good hands. The team immediately showed to have a good understanding of the requirements and it was clear that they had a perfect understanding of how to handle this project. This definitely turned out to be the case during implementation. Kemperman: ‘In a short amount of time, Iperion set up the desired infrastructure and constantly took the reigns when any imperfections came to light in the initial phase. The support provided by the Iperion team is excellent in the operational phase as well. We are extremely satisfied.’
Expanding the Partnership
Iperion proved to be the reliable IT supplier that ChemConnection saw at the start of the partnership. Iperion’s support and incident handling are of a very high standard.
ChemConnection as a company continues to grow steadily. In 2016, the building management system (BMS) must be extracted from the system of the building’s previous owner, which requires a separate data server. The company is once again opting for outsourcing and once again chooses Iperion. Kemperman: ‘We do not have the time to deal with the IT infrastructure. We need to spend our time and resources on the acquisition of orders and on executing these orders in the best way as possible. This is what a company like Iperion allows us to do: it takes away all our IT-related worries.’