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50 years of Senn


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On Aug 29, 2013, Chimica Oggi -Chemistry Today had the honour to participate at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of SENN CHEMICAL in Zurich together with clients, suppliers, scientists and friends.
The aim of this event was to celebrate half a century of pioneering work in industrial Peptide Chemistry.

Christoph Schmid, chairman of the Board, guided us through the last 50 years of SENN.

Christoph Schmid

Christoph Schmid

Guido A. Senn, the late founder of Senn Chemicals, started the Company in his garage in 1963. His starting capital was a 100’000-Swiss-francs order in hand, his many years of experience in organic Extractions, rare Sugars and Amino Acids, and the support of his dear wife, Elisabeth Senn. But most of all, his starting capital was his great commitment and vision of total quality, of teamwork and total customer focus in the field of organic synthesis.
Under his lead, step by step, the company grew from a catalog company to a Contract manufacturing Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO).
In 1980 the factory on Ruchwiesenstrasse was built.
The sons of the founder, Thomas, Michael, Matthias and Christof, also joined the company and contributed to further growth.
In the early years of the new Millennium, in 2003, the new state-of-the-art plant on Guido-Senn-Strasse was built.
Today, 50 years after the foundation, out of the small garage, an internationally reputed and highly successful enterprise has emerged with important market position and great brand recognition in the field of peptide chemistry.
Leading international Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Companies work with Senn Chemicals, but also smaller and, following the megatrends, even virtual Pharmaceutical Companies, cooperate closely with Senn in all phases of development, clinical tests, scaling up and in the commercial phase.

Leading scientists presented very interesting speeches on topics related to Peptide Chemistry:
Professor Dr. Kurt Wüthrich, Professor of Biochemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of technology ETH Zurich, Nobel laureate in chemistry in 2002
Professor Dr. Dieter Seebach, Laboratorium für Organische Chemie ETH Zürich
Dr. Bernhard Fischer, CEO of Apeptico Forschung und Entwicklung GmbH
Dr. Alain Scarso Director of Global Technical Operations of the PolyPeptide Group
Dr. PeterTimmerman Chief Scientific Officer at Pepscan Therapeutics.

At the end of the presentations SENN granted three Awards for “outstanding research work” to students selected on the basis of academic achievement and commitment to humanitarian efforts. Each of them received 5,000 CHF.
Rachel Mesia PhD Student, Lancaster University (UK) is a public health student committed to serving underprivileged and marginalized communities.

Rachel Mesia

Rachel Mesia

Catherine Oloo Master’s Student, University of California, Los Angeles (USA) is working with the Center for Urban Research and Innovations at the University of Nairobi, in support of villages in the Mukura informal settlement.

Catherine Oloo

Catherine Oloo

Suleyman Ari PhD Student at Anadolu University (Turkey) lost his eyesight at the age of six. With the support of his family, Suleyman earned placement in a special boarding school for the visually handicapped, where he began a love affair with knowledge. After earning a Master’s degree from UCLA, Suleyman returned to Turkey where his dedication to improving the lives of the handicapped has resulted in the founding of the Blind Leaders Project, motor vehicle enhancements for disabled and elderly accessibility, and the Accessible Testing program at Anadolu University that allows the visually handicapped to take tests via mobile and internet-based communication tools.

Suleyman Ari

Suleyman Ari

The “Sonnenberg” Convention Center, was located high over the beautiful city and the lake of Zurich.
Social events were organized during these two days event.
During the Gala Dinner SENN granted an award for outstanding scientific achievements in the field of peptide chemistry. The award was endowed with CHF 12'000 and went to Ivano Pusterla MS ETH Zürich, assistant to Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Bode. During the dinner Senn Chemicals announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas Eisele as their new Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Eisele was previously with CarboGen-Amcis, Novasep-Rohner and Synphabase, and most recently at Hovione, where he held the position of Vice President, Corporate R&D.
The second day another social event was highly appreciated by the guests: a guided city tour of Zurich. Christoph Schmid showed us the beautiful city centre and the magnificent buildings and churches.

Now, let’s talk about the future of Senn. During the current expansion years SENN continue to invest in People, new technologies, and in state-of-the-art equipment for R&D, Analytics and QC, in Production as well as its Inbound and Outbound Supply Chain, to comply with the highest expectations of its Clients and Partners. SENN invests in new Synthesis methods, aiming at higher purities and yields, at building ever larger and more complex Molecules, using state-of-the-art methods.
It will continue to further develop the close partnership with its clients all over the world, with its vendors and partners in the marketplace.
The company will be supported by the members of Senn Chemicals Scientific Advisory Board, by Professor Dieter Seebach and by Markus Schlageter. SENN will continue to benefit from its neighbourhood, with leading technology Universities such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Basel University. The growing demand for high-end peptides by the Life Science Industry, by its clients in the Pharmaceutical and Diagnostics business and the Cosmetics Industry creates room for Senn to continue to grow successfully over the years to come.

I would like to close this brief report with my congratulations to the Senn family and all the Team.