May 17, 2020

Goal to banish polio by 2012 might not be achieved

2 min
Polio virus
A global project which is aiming to rid the world of the polio disease is looking like it will be unsuccessful. Members of the Independent Monitoring B...

A global project which is aiming to rid the world of the polio disease is looking like it will be unsuccessful.

Members of the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have warned that the mission is going “off track”, after the disease has resurfaced in a number of countries.

They have blamed this almost certain failure on a lack of funding and complications in national vaccination campaigns.


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This will be the third target to be missed since the project’s inception in 1988, which costs approximately US$1 billion a year to run.

Funding required for the 2011-12 campaign totals $2 billion, but only two-thirds of this amount has been received in pledges.

It is estimated that $8 billion has been lost so far during the efforts.

Two endemic countries of Afghanistan and India have been praised for their efforts in fighting the disease; with the latter having had just one reported case of polio in the first half of this year.

However, concerns have been raised over the progress in Pakistan, as the report states the country “risks becoming the last global outpost of this vicious disease.”

Nigeria is also still struggling to take control of the virus, as is Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Polio is a very resilient disease,” said Sir Liam Donaldosn, the chair of the Initiative.

“There was a big impact in tackling it in the first two decades since the goal, but we still have this very big rump of cases left behind.”

He added: “Tackling the remaining 1 percent of polio is the greatest challenge yet.”

Donaldson continues: “Fourteen countries have had polio outbreaks since the start of 2010.”

“It is alarming and bad for the programme's morale that there are still these surprises, but polio eradication is still possible in the near-term if there is enhanced political commitment, secure funding and strengthened technical capacity.”

However, the project has seen largely successful results. When the effort began there were 125 endemic countries with 350,000 polio cases each year, but by 2000 this has been reduced to six endemic countries with an estimated 1,000 reported cases annually. 

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Jun 22, 2021

Bachem turns 50 - a timeline

3 min
As Bachem turns 50, we take a look at the company's history

Bachem, a supplier to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. We take a look at the Swiss company's history.  

1971 - beginnings

Bachem is founded by entrepreneur Peter Grogg in Liestal, a small town near Basel in Switzerland. Grogg started the firm with just two employees, and with a focus on peptide synthesis - peptides are composed of amino acids that have a variety of functions treating health conditions such as cancer and diabetes. 

1977 - 1981 - early growth

Bachem moves its headquarters to the Swiss town of Bubendorf, with eight employees. In 1978 the company produces peptides for use in medicines for the first time. In 1981 production capacity triples and the workforce grows to 150. 

 1987 - 1996 - worldwide expansion

The company expands into the US with Bachem Bioscience, Inc. in Philadelphia. To strengthen its presence in Europe, Bachem opens sales and marketing centres in Germany in 1988. 

Further sales centres open in France in 1993. By 1995 the company employs 190 people. In 1996 it acquires the second largest manufacturer of peptides in the world and forms Bachem California with a site in Torrance. 

 1998 - 2003 - Bachem goes public

Bachem company goes public and lists shares on the Swiss Stock Exchange. Further acquisitions include Peninsula Laboratories, Inc, based in California, and  Sochinaz SA, a Swiss-based manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients.  By 2001, the company has 500 employees and sales reach 141 million CHF.

In 2003 the organisation is given a new legal holding structure to support its continued growth, which remains in place to this day. 

2007 - 2013 - acquisitions

Bachem acquires a brand by Merck Biosciences for ready-to-use clinical trial materials and related services. 

In 2013, together with GlyTech, Inc. Bachem announces the development of a new amino acid that can help to treat multiple sclerosis, with a world market of more than $4 billion. 

In 2015 it acquires the American Peptide Company (APC), which becomes integrated into Bachem Americas. 

2016 - 2019 - a global leader

In 2016 the group opens a new building dedicated to R&D projects and small series production in Bubendorf. With a total of 1,022 employees, the workforce exceeds the 1,000 mark for the first time in the company’s history. Sales are over the 200 million mark for the first time at 236.5 million CHF.
Bachem expands into Asia with the establishment of a new company in Tokyo called Bachem Japan K.K. 

By 2019 Bachem has a growing oligonucleotide portfolio - these are DNA molecules used in genetic testing, research, and forensics. It is hoped this will become a significant product range in the future. 

2020 - COVID-19

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bachem secures its supply of active ingredients, and even increases it in critical areas. Sales exceed the 400 million Swiss franc mark for the first time, and  272 new employees are hired.  

2021 - a milestone anniversary

Bachem celebrates its 50th anniversary and position as a global leader in the manufacture of peptides. While it  remains headquartered in Bubendorf, the company employs 1,500 people at six locations worldwide. In the next five years there are  plans to continue expanding. 

Commemorating the company's anniversary, Kuno Sommer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: "Bachem's exceptional success story from a small laboratory to a global market leader is closely linked to Peter Grogg's values, and has been shaped by innovation, consistent quality and cost awareness, as well as by entrepreneurial vision."

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