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3 questions to BIOCYC – “With our new antibody production process, we are one of the few companies in the world that are able to do this”

published by Karen Esser
potsdam_sciencepark-geschaeftsfuehrung-gruender-BIOCYC © Standortmanagement Golm GmbH/Karen Esser
Successful family business BIOCYC: Jürgen Gorczyza with Barbara Gorczyza and Alexander Gorczyza on the building site. Construction work begins on an energy-efficient laboratory and production building in the Potsdam Science Park. © Standortmanagement Golm GmbH/Karen Esser

In a way, BIOCYC is one of the hidden champions of the Potsdam Science Park. Producing peptides for both the pharmaceutical industry and research as well as antibodies for cancer diagnostics, their success allows them to build their own production building in the Potsdam Science Park. In our interview, BIOCYC CEO Alexander Gorczyza talks about antibodies for cancer diagnostics and why the Potsdam Science Park is the ideal location for the growing company.

Mr. Gorczyza, you studied biotechnology at the TU Berlin. What made you decide to follow in your father’s footsteps and work in the family business?

It was actually quite obvious to me. My father’s company, quartett GmbH, which he founded in 1986, to sell biochemicals and reagents, always felt very close to me. It was, in a sense, the pulse of the family. My father took over management and sales, my mother accounting and finance. So I was pretty much involved automatically. We always combined business trips with vacations, for excample. At the age of ten, I attended congresses in Germany and also presented products there. When I was twelve or thirteen, I even got to attend congresses in the USA. That was very exciting. And when you’re involved from an early age, it catches your interest very naturally. When I returned to the company after my studies, it felt like simply picking up where I had left off.

BIOCYC has existed since 1995. Today, it is so successful that you plan to become the first private company to construct your own building in the Potsdam Science Park. What is the story behind your success?

I think one of the secrets of our success is that we always have a high quality standard for our products. We had such great success with our purely synthetically produced peptides that we had the opportunity to develop a new technology for the production of monoclonal rabbit antibodies. With our new method of antibody production, we are one of the few companies in the world capable of doing this. Normally, almost all antibodies are produced using mice. But the immune system of a rabbit is far superior to that of a mouse. So we can make very specific antibodies that are valuable for cancer diagnosis. The whole procedure somewhat resembles taking a blood sample. The rabbit receives a kind of vaccination, it develops immunity, B cells develop in the blood, we draw some of this blood and isolate them. From Charité to Vivantes – our antibodies are used in the pathology institutes of many hospitals all around the world. This has enabled us to grow. Currently, we employ 17 people. The new building will provide space for up to 50 employees.

Why did you choose the Potsdam Science Park as BIOCYC’s production site and why is the location so attractive that you also intend to construct a new building here?

The Potsdam Science Park is really fantastic and the perfect location for us. Originally, we started our production in Luckenwalde in 1997. However, our possibilities to expand further there had become very limited. We chose Potsdam Science Park for many reasons. The premises in the GO:IN 1 incubator are very well located, we have the natural sciences with the Campus Golm of the University of Potsdam on site, the Max Planck Institutes, the Fraunhofer Institutes and many like-minded companies. We are currently cooperating very intensively with all of these institutions. So here we had opportunities that we didn’t have elsewhere. For example, we worked very closely with Professor Katja Hanack, whose endowed professorship at the University of Potsdam we also supported financially. After eight years at GO:IN 1, we have now made the leap to independence in terms of space, and our new building with an area of 1,600 square meters should be ready in mid-2023. This is something very special and a new milestone in our history as a family business.

Mr. Gorczyza, thank you for this interview.

This blog and the projects of Standortmanagement Golm GmbH in the Potsdam Science Park are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the state of Brandenburg.

Image credits: Jürgen Gorczyza, Barbara Gorczyza and Alexander Gorczyza © Standortmanagement Golm GmbH/Karen Esser