Our GMP-certified development and manufacturing site in Prague is expanding rapidly. To realize this expansion and to support the local team, Petr Cermak recently joined our ranks as Site Director of Prague.
A father of three and grandfather of five, Petr lives an active life in the small town of Tisnov. He was trained as a chemical engineer at the TU in Brno, Czech Republic, and had a long career at Synthon, where he started in a commercial role in supply chain and sales. He followed an MBA Executive program in the UK to support his career as Director API operations. Eight years ago, he became General Manager at the Czech site of Synthon.
This production site also had extensive research and development capabilities. “As General Manager, I convinced my bosses to transfer several corporate functions and activities to our Czech site,” says Petr. “We became experts in oligonucleotides and spray-drying technology, gained extensive knowledge in R&D and manufacturing of highly potent APIs for oncology, and contributed to the ADC Antibody Drug Conjugates program for Byondis by producing linkers.” During his time there, the site experienced continuous organic growth, going from 150 to around 300 people. It was up to Petr to manage all those changes and incorporate the new capabilities.
When asked about his experience at the Symeres site, Petr laughs. “I was already familiar with the site, as I was involved in selling the premises to Symeres at the time, so I know a little about where to go. In that regard, it feels like I’m going back for the future.” That being said, Symeres hasn’t sat still in the past years and this is also visible. “Like in my previous job, the Symeres Prague site does R&D work and is a GMP-certified organization, audited by SUKL. This means that it has to have roughly the same systems as I am used to, but there are only 32 employees to operate everything. It’s a lot smaller than the previous site I worked at and resources are limited.” This brings an interesting challenge for Petr, as he is asked to do what he did best in his previous job: manage growth, adjust and develop the organization, and help introduce new expertise.
In the near future, Petr will focus on getting two new reactor lines up and running, hopefully by Q4 of this year. This expansion will create opportunities to grow not only the capacity and employee count, but also to become a center of excellence and expertise in development and GMP production. Looking ahead further, Petr intends to keep an eye on the supporting activities of the site as well, such as the R&D and analytical capabilities, plus the supporting staff to facilitate expansion.
“I look forward to one more big adventure at Symeres, supporting my new colleagues and helping Symeres reach its ambitions of growth with excellence.”