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Science Made Me… ensure a reliable supply of medicines for patients
Grünenthal is constantly expanding and developing new capabilities. To manage these projects, colleagues like Sebastian Schwier are integral. Sebastian leads projects that ensure every aspect of our production network can contribute optimally. When acquisitions expand our portfolio, Sebastian helps our factories gear up quickly and safely to produce medication. He works closely with colleagues globally and utilizes his scientific expertise to prevent problems and ensure integration works smoothly.
Coordinating cross-functional teams
"It is enriching to join forces with colleagues who have such diverse skills and experience," he says. "People from Engineering, Production, Procurement, Quality… Together, we find the best way of making medicines. Do we have the capacities in our current production facilities? Do we have the right equipment? What about packaging? It's my job to find the best person to answer each question and solve every potential problem before it arises. That work begins before Grünenthal acquires a new product – to make sure it is a good fit for our company."
Right now, Sebastian is focused on our manufacturing site in Quito, Ecuador. "The local team is building a new plant to serve as the main source for the production of the bulk tablets of one of Grünenthal’s acquisitions," he explains. "Grünenthal is investing €24 million to expand its facilities by a 1,800-square-metre plant with the capacity to make up to 300 million tablets per year. Everybody involved is incredibly proud because this state-of-the-art facility is going to supply 17 countries in Europe. That is rare for a site in Latin America. And, for the local colleagues, this plant is part of an even more secure long-term perspective at Grünenthal. So together, we are doing something really special."
Following his family's footsteps
Project managers like Sebastian are often viewed as flexible employees without one specific area of focus. But Sebastian is different. He studied pharmacy, just like his parents and grandfather before him. After his PhD in Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmaceutics, he joined the R&D team in 2008. With three generations of scientific pedigree and real-world insights from our laboratories, Sebastian is able to lead projects with a sharp understanding of the specific details involved in formulating and producing innovative medicines.
"My family ran high-street pharmacies, so I grew up around medicines and consultations – plus a lot of patients, too," he says. "My background and career experience have helped me understand how drugs are made and how they work, as well as the manufacturing technologies involved. That enables me to evaluate projects in detail and to collaborate with colleagues from across disciplines to ensure a reliable supply of medicines for patients."