Dr. Günther Gorka being interviewed on the 25th company anniversary
In 2016, DiaSys Diagnostic Systems GmbH of Holzheim is celebrating its 25th anniversary – 25 years of remarkable company history in which the organization was successfully busy as reliable and innovative supplier of high-quality liquid stable reagents as well as systems for the clinical laboratory. From the beginning, the in-house Research and Development division was the key to success. The company’s founder and Managing Director, Dr. Günther Gorka, substantially contributed to this success. Dennis Ermert, Controlling at DiaSys, met him for a personal interview.
Dr. Gorka, 25 years of DiaSys – in 1991, you had started together with Dr. Manfred Probst and Mr. Rolf Greiner. What had motivated you most to set up such an organization?
“Substantially, we decided to go for this venture for economical reasons as Dr. Probst’s and my then employer, Human Diagnostics, was sold and I therefore could not pursue my professional objectives any longer. At the same time, however, I was very much interested in developing photometry further towards immunoturbidimetry, together with Dr. Probst. In addition, some of the reagents of the then Rolf Greiner BioChemica range had a low stability and I was asked to assist Mr. Greiner with shelf life improvement/extension. In this connection, Mr. Greiner suggested to benefit from his customer base, to create turnover for DiaSys already at an early stage. Amongst others, this was the reason why some of the clinical chemistry products could be sold that fast. Thereafter, we dealt with stabilization of an important co-substrate, NAD and NADH, in three further tests. Like that, one after the other was realized – up to our current parameter spectrum.
So how did you manage in the course of time to establish the company internationally?
“Originally, it was not quite our idea to sell abroad. What I wanted was a small technology organization with about 30 to 50 staff members in which everybody knows each other and in principle everything is under control. In the course of various expert lectures and presentations held by me on our new and advanced tests it turned out different, as we met Günther Jans and, more or less at the same time, Hans-Gert Klein. Based on their huge experience in international sales and their large network of contacts we arrived at the decision that Germany was too small and that the DiaSys products should be sold world-wide. Export activity under “DiaSys International“ started in 1994 and at first comprised 17 countries (Europe, America, Near East and China). Due to personal preferences, Mr. Jans developed the Asian region and Mr. Klein the Western area. Today, our export ratio exceeds 90%.”
Which moments/situations did you experience as particularly challenging/interesting in the past 25 years?
“Challenging was and is the more and more increasing complexity, particularly the regulatory complexity. Today, it would be unimaginable to start like we did 25 years ago, preparing, filling, labeling and packing produced reagents in a garage.Our first MEDICA participation in 1992, building and moving into our premises in Holzheim in 1993 as well as subsequent extension in 1999 surely were nice moments. Challenging was the first certification by TÜV Rheinland as per DIN EN ISO 9001 in 1996, as beginning of our today’s QM system. The takeover of Merck’s clinical chemistry business segment in 2002 certainly is also among these nice moments, as at this time, our company was not really big and this decision was tremendously important for us. One of my personal highlights was the conclusion of a set of contracts between the two DiaSys China organizations and Leadman in next to last year, after long and intensive negotiations, at 1.30 h at night, which comprise controlling shareholding by Leadman of both Chinese organizations and a deepened cooperation. Only three days later, we took over Piramal Diagnostic’s diagnostics branch in India and converted same into DiaSys Diagnostics India.“
Environmental protection, renewable energy sources, social responsibility – what is your opinion on these topics?
“Already in 1996/97, during planning phase of the extension building for production, administration and warehouse, we started to implement ecological ideas together with green consultants (architects) to make sure the buildings were erected under most modern aspects. Bearing in mind conditions prevailing at that time, our climatisation, utilization of rainwater, wind power station and block heating station were absolutely top and particularly advanced. We also followed up this ecological central idea when extending our R&D building in 2007. With these investments and strengthening of our business location in Holzheim we consciously hold on to our German base despite the continuously increasing internationalization.“
25 years DiaSys – What do you regard as the organization’s biggest success and where does the company’s future lie?
“In general, there is no success to be specified as being the biggest, outshining everything else. It is the mixture of many efforts in various areas, working together interdisciplinarily. The structural changes in all divisions show that internal quality has increased. This combination is the company’s biggest success. Out of this inner strength, we will be again able to increasingly develop new tests. Also in future, I want to encourage the company’s innovative power. In-vitro diagnostics, extension of system business as well as point of care area remain the main focus; but we will not restrict ourselves to Clinical Chemistry and Immunoturbidimetry, but instead push forward to Immunology and Coagulation sectors as well as to new developing areas. Our primary focus will still be the small to medium-size laboratory as well as our OEM partners to whom we want to offer further specialties.”
Interviewer: Dennis Ermert