3 questions with Roche subsidiary Signature Diagnostics GmbH: »Our employees and their expertise are our most important success factor«

Since August 2023, the Roche Group has found a place in the Potsdam Science Park through its subsidiary, Signature Diagnostics GmbH, becoming an important anchor company in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Together with Signature’s Managing Director, Dr Ruediger Ridder, and Agnes von Matuschka, Managing Director of Standortmanagement Golm GmbH in the Science Park, we spoke about Signature’s specific strengths, its reasons to move and why the company fits perfectly into the park’s life science profile.

Dr Ridder, Signature Diagnostics GmbH focuses on the development of molecular diagnostic methods for cancer. What specific projects are you working on?

Dr Ruediger Ridder: Cancer is a complex, heterogeneous disease. To date, we recognize over 200 different types of cancer. In our work, we analyze the genetic changes that occur in the body when cancer develops in it. In clinical studies for the Roche Group, we help to better understand cancer and develop better diagnostic procedures and treatment methods.

In our work, we rely on the possibilities of ‘Next Generation Sequencing’. Using this method, we can, for example, identify specific genetic changes in the cancer cells in a patient’s body, using nothing more than a blood sample. This allows us to identify their genetic signature. This knowledge is important, because it enables us to develop customized therapies for patients. Such forms of ‘precision diagnostics’ or ‘personalized medicine’ can improve the early detection of cancer in the future and give many cancer patients a chance of a cure or a longer life.

Why did you decide to relocate to the Potsdam Science Park? What advantages does the park offer you?

Dr Ruediger Ridder: The history of Signature Diagnostics GmbH is closely linked to Potsdam. We took our first steps as a start-up in the city in 2005. In 2010, we moved to our previous premises in Hermannswerder. Since our integration into the Roche Group in 2015, we are part of a leading global pharmaceutical and diagnostics group and integrated into its research and development infrastructure. Of course, at first glance, it would therefore seem obvious that we should move our headquarters to one of the other Roche sites, such as Mannheim.

But that’s not how our industry works. As a research and development company, our employees and their expertise are our most important success factor. And they are rooted in Potsdam. As such, it was clear to us that we wanted to remain anchored in the region as a company. In this respect, the Potsdam Science Park was an almost natural choice for us. Where else can we find such an inspiring scientific environment and committed site management that promotes dialogue between local institutions and companies? In addition, we have access to the park’s infrastructure, such as canteens and conference rooms, as well as good public transport connections to the entire metropolitan region.

Mrs von Matuschka, the Potsdam Science Park is particularly relevant for the so-called life sciences. What are the specific strengths of the location in this area?

Agnes von Matuschka: With research-intensive institutions such as the University of Potsdam, the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology and the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, one of the focal points of our location is diagnostics. It is important for us to be able to serve the entire life sciences value chain. This starts with the unique opportunities that the site offers talented researchers. Here, they learn how research and the translation of their results actually work in practice. Start-ups take their first steps in our GO:IN or GO:IN 2 innovation centres, while larger or fast-growing companies find the space they need for their ambitious plans in the properties of our investors.

The relocation of Signature Diagnostics GmbH also fits into this concept and is a great success for us as a location. We are proud that a leading company like Roche is now represented in the Potsdam Science Park and look forward to the future opportunities for cooperation this decision brings.

Mrs von Matuschka, Dr Ridder, thank you for the interview.

This blog and the projects carried out by Standortmanagement Golm GmbH at Potsdam Science Park are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Federal State of Brandenburg.