Feature article – The Midas touch
Midas Pharma is diversifying into new areas based on its longstanding non-GMP capabilities. We spoke with senior director Dr Peter Markus
Midas Pharma of Ingelheim, Germany, is mainly known as a family-owned, full-chain supplier of products and services to the pharmaceutical market. The company continues to grow in this area, with sales close to €500 million/year and over 250 employees. However, it is also looking to other fields.
In fact, the company was originally called Midas Pharmachemie but was rebranded as Midas Pharma in 2004 because that was the area in which it had enjoyed most success. Now it is launching Midas Chemicals as the brand for its non-GMP fine chemical activities for all applications, in part because these are now outpacing growth in the established pharma market.
“These are the activities where, typically, the first and main motivation was out of pharma,” says senior director and key account manager Dr Peter Markus. “The first prototype success story was sodium borohydride. We have the European marketing and sales rights for one of the major world producers.” This activity, he adds, made the company more prominent in distribution in the sense of representing one producer and supporting its activities by offering more flexibility and smooth supply.
“Our differentiation strategy paid off right from the beginning,” Markus says. That strategy refers to “everything that is challenging difficult, aggressive, hard-to-handle – the kind of thing nobody likes to distribute or store. For us, this was exactly what we like to handle to demonstrate our seriousness, our long-term intention and outlook, and our being well-connected to our ‘home’ industry but also offering advantages in others.”
Midas has always funded its own chemical development in terms of products and processes. It has added many more chemistries to its portfolio, creating different building blocks that were relevant to pharma and peptides but also to, for example, electronics. These applications are a long way removed from GMP but highly demanding in terms of quality and manufacturing challenges.
All of those working within Midas Chemicals are PhD chemists, chemical engineers or those who have studied a combination of economics and chemistry, plus online marketing activity rather than traditional field sales personnel. Management is in place for activities in the electronics and solar markets, and projects have already begun in these fields. All this is underpinned by digitalisation.
Having this, says Markus, “will even further increase our visibility and will be a huge advantage to all of our manufacturing partners, who are using us to spread the news to the small and medium-sized companies.” Midas Chemicals is also bringing in data scientists and marketing and sales analysts, to combine industry data, product streams and technology data. It is using all this to identify from conversations with potential customers where there is a further discussion to be had, even if it is not yet clear where this might lead, what the major technology hurdles are and what would be the means to make a collaboration successful.
“It helped us to guide those homeless but challenging industry projects relatively straight to the most capable manufacturing partner, and it led to a constellation of trust, understanding and a long-term view,” Markus notes. “This did not enable us to win each and every project but really enabled us to add value and demonstrated our capabilities not just to our customers but also to our manufacturing partners, which made us much closer to them.”
In parallel, during the decade that it has been on this path, Midas faced situations where a manufacturing partner intended to abandon certain products or lines. Of old, the company would simply store and sell off the last volumes. Now, it aims to due diligence to see if it can continue to supply via a new partner with the right skills and the ability to supply the volume demand.
This is giving Midas a more stable basis on which to address new applications for the products that are driven by emerging customers. It also means having customers who are aware of what they really need and are driven by strategic considerations, rather than those who are mainly pushing for lower prices. “Now we are harvesting strategic decisions that were taken years ago, as well as having serious partners with good infrastructure, strong back-integration and a good environmental profile from being audited by eco-audit organisations,” Markus says.
Midas itself is Ecovadis-certified. This is not the cheapest option and when it took the decision to go with Ecovadis, it was not sure how this would pay off but it has because this certification is now seen as validating its long-term commitment. This includes making further adjustments as new requirements emerge.
The company believes that its ethos of taking the long-term view when making investment decisions is key for continuous growth. It will also keep on investing in a marketing strategy that sends technical experts, product managers and project managers out to meet partners at events and elsewhere.
“One of our slogans is ‘Trust, Expertise, Added Value’,” Markus says. “The added value comes out of considering where we are, what might be our additional requirements and what our contribution could be to supporting customers.”
Dr Peter Markus
Senior Director & Key Account Manager
Midas Pharma GmbH
+49 6132 990-588