Medical progress and improving human health are important values for SCHOTT. To further support this, the company inaugurated the first diagnostics site in the United States, in Phoenix, Arizona. The new plant is part of the technology group’s global growth plan and develops and produces individual solutions for the diagnostics industry. The new approximately 3,500 square meter (m²) facility enables products to be brought to market faster and more efficiently and ensures regional supply chains in the USA through on-site production of microarrays and microfluidic chips. At the opening event on January 9, 2023, representatives from SCHOTT, the State of Arizona, the local government of Phoenix and prominent members of the regional biotech scene underlined the importance of SCHOTT’s expansion in the United States.
“The United States is one of our most important markets and we are excited to expand our R&D and manufacturing activities in this region,” said Dr. Heinz Kaiser, Member of the Board of Directors of SCHOTT. “The new manufacturing facility in Phoenix not only expands our global footprint, but also accommodates the fast-growing and dynamic diagnostics market in North America. We are committed to building a unique pipeline for this market in the US.”
In addition to the competence centers in Jena, Germany and Melbourne, Australia, Phoenix is SCHOTT’s third diagnostics location. It forms the competence center for biotechnology and places a special focus on high-density microarrays with special biomarkers. Thousands of genes can be detected simultaneously with this technology. In the next few years, 150 jobs are to be created in the greater Phoenix area, thereby increasing the number of employees at SCHOTT MINIFAB in Phoenix by 300 percent.
Progress in diagnostics and life sciences for more than 20 years
Diagnostic tests for infectious, autoimmune and cancer diseases are increasingly being carried out at the point of care (PoC) and no longer in central laboratories. Demand increased significantly, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using microfluidic chips with embedded biosensors, these tests can identify and quantify a range of biomarkers related to the genes and proteins of specific infectious agents or present in the human body.
By taking into account the patient’s individual genetic make-up, environment and lifestyle, this new field of precision medicine enables more accurate diagnoses and better treatment outcomes for diseases. Helping companies to produce cutting-edge life science research tools and advanced diagnostics that examine the details of such genomic and proteomic signatures associated with diseases is a key strategic focus of SCHOTT.
“Microfluidic chips have become more important, not least because of the global pandemic. In order to better meet the needs of patients, doctors and laboratories, our products must enable more complex diagnostics,” explains Greg Wolters, head of the strategic business area Diagnostics at SCHOTT. “Life science is the key component to this and it starts with the use of microarrays. At SCHOTT MINIFAB, we want to support our customers in every phase of product development and manufacture to realize their ideas and ultimately change the world. The new facility allows us to work more closely with customers in the US and domestically produce diagnostic solutions that can improve diagnostic outcomes.”
SCHOTT’s diagnostics division SCHOTT MINIFAB offers customers a holistic solution package for the contract development and production of rapid diagnostic tests that enable precise treatments and therapies.