Fre 19 aug / År 40 / Nr 3 2022

Creating long-term strategic partnerships in the Medicon Valley

In an ever-evolving world with rapid changes across all sectors and products, understanding and adapting your business and your product has never been more key. Anna Stenstam and the team at CR Competence are at the forefront of this changing pace and are operating right at the heart of Medicon Valley.

Anna Stenstam

With more than 350 companies, the Medicon Valley has become a bedrock for biotech, medtech and pharmaceutical manufacturers and developers. The Lund, Malmo and Copenhagen region is also home to no fewer than nine world leading life science-oriented universities and a growing research community. The knowledge- and research-oriented environment provides a very good starting point for CR Competence.

Understanding how and why

The key to CR Competence’s ongoing success is their core belief in getting to know their clients from day one.

“We generally ask three questions throughout every project. One, what do I see? Two, what does it mean? And the third question, what does it mean to them? By working closely and honestly, we build levels of trust with our clients, so they listen to what we have found or suggested.”

As an example, Regulatory authorities require CMC submissions to validate product and process quality as a product/medical device moves through clinical trials. CR Competence follows these processes diligently by looking at all the client’s ingredients and why they are critical and in what context and ranges they will perform. The mantra Quality by Understanding is key.

“Fast forward to look back”

CR Competence’s core value that ”all knowledge should be used” play an important role in the Medicon Valley. For instance, CR Competence on average does around only 30 per cent of their annual work with pharmaceutical and medtech companies established in the Medicon Valley-region.

Breaking down the numbers show that around one third of the work is dedicated to the development of medical devices. Importantly, in addition to the traditional life sciences, CR Competence also work with food companies and companies in the fast-moving consumer goods area such as personal- and home care, with packaging challenges and increasingly with so called ingredient developers.

The benefits are the joy of the ever changing days as well as the possibility to use general knowledge from one business in another, to truly implement cross-business knowledge transfer with associated gains.

Teamwork is fundamental to the CR Competence culture and sharing knowledge allows to continue to adapt and learn. For clients in the Medicon Valley there is little time for trial and error.

“In order to fast forward you have to look back,” says Anna when discussing the future of CR Competence and their clients. “By examining where you have been, and why for example your old formulation was working, you know what to look for when replacing ingredients moving forward. It is fundamental to product and client success”.

Anna Stenstam sees CR Competence’s future expanding its core functions based on clients’ needs and movements – balancing experimental studies with long-term strategic partnership, with CR providing an advisory board to support their clients’ needs and projects, often as scientific peers.

The biggest challenge may be the passion to maintain the cultural identity of CR Competence whilst making it scalable long-term.

The power of knowledge

The CR Competence team is very flexible with a great network, which makes them more resilient in challenging times. The first half of 2020 saw many challenges, with clients reluctant to launch new innovation projects during the pandemic and Lund University (where CR Competence has their labs) going into lock-down. But since then, research and development has pushed forward with experimental and new products and the way CR Competence solved several of the experimental challenges during lock-down has further strengthened its platform.

With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, CR Competence are aware that some of their clients will feel the impacts of increasing material costs, as for example oil and sunflower oil prices are likely to soar in the months ahead. With no crystal ball to foresee the changes ahead, CR Competence will rely on their unique selling point – understanding their clients and utilising the power of knowledge.