Five minutes with Adrian Steinmetz, Vice President Global Chemical Catalysts & Adsorbents, BASF – DCAT Week ‘18
PH: BASF is, of course, the largest chemical company in the world and you are a small part of it. Please introduce your division and what it does, specifically for the pharmaceutical industry.
Steinmetz: BASF is indeed the largest chemical company in the world and the global leader in catalysis. The catalyst business is core to BASF and we are constantly seeking to further develop our customers’ solutions and to improve our global production network because the pharmaceutical market is a growth market. In addition to having the broadest portfolio of catalysts, we also have a world-class, integrated supply chain with production sites in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. We continue to make investments in our business for the long term, developing innovative catalytic technologies and investing in our production sites. Simply put, we are here to stay.
PH: Have you made any recent technological innovations in this field?
Steinmetz: The NanoSelect platform technology for the production of heterogeneous catalysts has been the main one and we are constantly developing new products from it that show the general theme of NanoSelect, which is to “do more with less”. Every time we develop a new NanoSelect catalyst for a new application, that feeling is coming out: it allows customers to use heterogeneous precious metal catalysts at lower cost and with better selectivity.
PH: How does it work?
Steinmetz: You can steer the reaction by optimising the size of the metal crystallite for the specific reaction you want to do. These catalysts are well established in the industry. In principle, they have the same characteristics as classic platinum-, palladium- and ruthenium-based catalysts, so in that sense it is a drop-in replacement. It is not just about the size of the metal particle but also how we work to make them right for the application. We also collaborate with our customers to work jointly on innovations to increase the value of their work, including developing customer-specific catalysts early in the process.
PH: You are here together with BASF Pharma Solutions, which offers a much wider array of technology platforms for pharmaceutical applications. Do you work together in certain ways or are the two kept apart?
Steinmetz: The ‘one company’ principle is something we all stand for at BASF. Certainly, we have different divisions with specific business strategies and targets. At the same time, as BASF we strive to make our customer’s product and/or process better. So, whenever we see a customer who will benefit from a joint divisional approach, we will offer them our combined knowledge and expertise. It is also important to stress that the presence at DCAT of BASF Pharma Solutions, Catalysts, and Intermediates, shows that BASF is committed to the pharmaceutical industry. The fundamentals are right for really doing something good in terms of bringing innovations to this industry and it really gives us a kick to work that way.
PH: And DCAT Week is an important event for you as for everyone else in the supply chain?
Steinmetz: Absolutely. The pharmaceutical market is a global market, demanding a global supply chain, and this is the global pharma event for senior management each year. This is where we come to learn about the trends driving the industry, how we can help drive the trends forward, and start to determine where we can work together with others on the latest innovations critical to the market. It’s a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with new players in the market and strengthen relationships with current players.