After six months of planning, the time had finally come on May 23, 2007: the first technology tour of the Senior Expert Chemists took place in the Höchst Industrial Park in Frankfurt. Sanofi-Aventis, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, invited the event. The tour began in the historical exhibition at Tor Ost with a look back at the roots of the former Hoechst, but above all at the progress that has been made at the Höchst location in recent years.
Today, with more than 22,000 people, far more people work on the industrial site than in the mid-1990s. And so the detour to the listed Peter Behrens Building, the former basis of the Hoechst emblem bridge and tower, had the sole purpose of admiring the architectural secrets of this remarkable industrial building in the Bauhaus style.
We then went to the heart of Sanofi-Aventis, a research building protected under the highest security requirements in the south of the industrial park. Here, laboratory and group leaders explained the latest research trends, but also daily routine. Today it is standard practice for chemists to characterize new substances fully automatically with an NMR spectrum and a mass spectrum at the same time within a few hours. In view of modern high technology, some participants were keen to make a historical comparison to their own work in the laboratory.
The explanations on protein crystallization were also captivating. Biologists and chemists are now able to screen significantly more samples and start structure elucidation projects per year than they were a few years ago. What was surprising to everyone present was that outsourcing is now also taking effect here: the microscope images of the crystallization process are sent to China for evaluation via data transfer.
After the lunch break in the casino, where the researchers from Sanofi-Aventis were available to talk to, we finally went on a bus tour through the industrial park. The 4.6 square kilometer park, with 72 km of roads, 57 km of railroad tracks and around 90 companies based there, is likely to be one of the most important chemical and pharmaceutical locations in Europe.
Our thanks go to Dr. Uwe Gerlach, Dr. Ulrich Wendt, Dr. Martin Will, Dr. Kai Bruns, qualified engineer Maik Fredersdorf and Dipl.-lng. Mathias Schaffrath, and especially our all-day companion, Dr. Cäcilia Glück-Machholdt, who made this informative and entertaining day possible.
The series of excursions in the format of Technology Tours for Senior Expert Chemists is to be continued, also beyond the Rhine-Main area. Thank you in advance for suggestions and planning help from the ranks of the Senior Expert Chemist.
Contact: Dr. Holger Bengs, GDCh, Tel. 069 7917 356
(From Nachr. Chem. 2007, 55, 920.)
last modified: 25.11.2023 12:59 H from Translator