Switzerland's Solvias AG, a specialist in scientific and technical services and products based on synthesis and analysis, has reported a healthy 20 per cent hike in 2002 sales to SF43.6 million (€28.6m). The increase was driven largely by Solvias' overseas activities, particularly in the core pharmaceutical sector.
The company said its 20 per cent sales boost (compared with 6 per cent in 2001) came about despite difficult market conditions. While sales in Switzerland increased by just under 3 per cent, the share of overseas sales rose from 22 to 32 per cent of the total, an effect seen "despite the fact that a large number of our customers have been directly affected by the slump in the economy and a loss of confidence in new technologies," according to the firm.
Solvias notes that refinancing worries have led several biotech companies to stretch their existing funds and, in niche markets outside the pharmaceutical sector, the company has experienced a decreasing willingness to invest.
"This exerted a negative influence on products such as analytics software, although not on chemical hazards monitors. On the other hand, an even greater focus on the pharmaceutical market enabled Solvias to expand its release analytics for raw materials and solvents and to introduce microbiology as a new service," said the firm.
In order to keep pace with this development, the number of staff was increased, as in the previous year, with 28 more employees joining the firm in 2002 for an average of 224 full-time positions.
Meanwhile, the founding of Solvias Inc, a wholly-owned US subsidiary based in New Jersey, at the start of 2003 "represents the next step in further expanding operations," according to the firm.
A particular success story for Solvias in 2002 was its synthesis and enantioselective ligands service. This technology is especially useful to large pharmaceutical companies, allowing the manufacture of complex active ingredients without the necessity of entering production obligations or undesirable licensing structures. Solvias says its partnership with the noble-metal division of OMG, which provides catalyst precursors and ready-to-use metal-ligand catalysts, will further promote this development.
Looking forward, Solvias sees great potential in protein analytics, for which demand is expected to increase significantly, and the company plans to expand its capabilities in this sector over the course of 2003.