Made in Nijmegen// A piece of drug discovery company DFE Pharma in almost every medicine or vitamin

Martti Hedman – ready to help DFE Pharma make the next step

As the world is slowly trying to move on after more than two years in a pandemic, DFE Pharma continues to work on key ingredients for medicines and supplements. As their new CEO, Martti Hedman plans to lead the company so that it can further develop its position as an international leader in the excipients industry – right here at the Novio Tech Campus.

DFE Pharma develops, produces, and supplies excipients used in the pharmaceutical industry. Important work, says Martti: “Excipients – or inactive ingredients – are key in drug development. Without excipients, no medicines.” The ingredients produced by DFE Pharma ensure that medicines are released into a patient’s system predictably and effectively. As an international leader in the industry, Martti has always respected DFE Pharma’s work. “The excipients we produce are used in pills, tablets, inhalation medicines, and in biopharma formulations – including in COVID-19 vaccinations”, Martti says.

He is very excited to join the DFE Pharma team. “I am impressed with what I have seen so far. It’s a truly global company, with passionate and skilled people that live up to the purpose of the company: moving towards a healthier world together.”

‘Try to understand before you want to become understood’
The road towards his new role as CEO of DFE Pharma crossed many borders. Coming from Finland, Martti worked abroad in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Before joining DFE Pharma, he served Colorcon, a company he had worked at for over 23 years in five different roles, and spent the last 8 years as CEO. This means Martti brings a ton of experience with him. But, as he is just starting out in his new role, he plans to use his first months to fully understand the company and its people. “I am following the principle ‘try to understand before you want to become understood.’ I am taking the time to discuss with various stakeholders – employees and customers – to find out what works and what does not. Using that as a starting point, we will further build the company based on our learnings and successes”, Martti says.

The company and Martti seem to be a good fit, and he likes to add that being located on the Novio Tech Campus benefits their work. “The Campus brings knowledge, business, and innovation together. By being located here, we benefit from the open innovation and connection between researchers and entrepreneurs in health and high tech”, he says.

It'll be hard work
With Martti as the new CEO, DFE Pharma is ready to take the next step, which is necessary given the challenges the company faces. “We are living in unprecedented times – with COVID-19 and the situation in Ukraine. These events impact everyone, and one of the challenges we face as a result is cost inflation. We continue to commit to our promise of security and supply, which means I’ll have to work hard to keep both the internal workforce and external stakeholders engaged: an exciting challenge.”

Above all, Martti sees opportunities. “Transforming DFE Pharma to an even more market- and customer-oriented business is on the agenda. Innovation, new products, and new applications for existing products represent a significant opportunity for organic growth. We will also continue to scout for inorganic growth opportunities.” He emphasizes that there are already countless products on the market that rely on DFE Pharma excipients. “Tablets, capsules, liquids, vaccines, all simply can’t exist without using binders, fillers stabilizers, or disintegrants made by our team”, he says. He summarizes the many applications of their products: “Next time you take a medicine or buy a vitamin, there might very well be a DFE Pharma product in it.”