A new partnership has led to a new IDT location. Aeras TB has sold its contract manufacturing division to IDT. Now two companies are housed in the buildings at 1405 Research Boulevard in Rockville, Maryland. Aeras will continue its research on effective and affordable vaccines against tuberculosis at the site. In the same building, IDT will now work on the production of vaccines as test samples for Phase I and II clinical trials.
The newly launched partnership makes a lot of sense for both sides,” says Tom Evans, Aeras CEO, at the end of the first day of the new configuration in Rockville. “We will focus on research and be contracting IDT for manufacturing, as agreed. For us it was important that our acquired expertise and, of course, our experienced employees can now have a role in a company that enjoys an outstanding reputation worldwide.” The new location immediately offers IDT a whole list of advantages, as Dr. Ralf Pfirmann explained to the new IDT employees and their Aeras colleagues: “The focus on products in Phase I and II clinical trials is especially a meaningful extension of our vaccine capacity. We now have a research and production facility in the world’s leading country for the health industry. The new facility is also a motivation in IDT’s efforts to expand globally as well as for our corporate culture.”
The new partnership was first put into effect by both CEOs signing a commemorative charter, after which a large cake was served, decorated with the corporate colors blue and green and both company logos.
There was a lot to discuss right up until the very end of the first day. Already at 8 a.m., the new management met with IDT representatives, who had traveled to Maryland for the day.
IDT Welcome Breakfast
At 9 a.m., a breakfast for all IDT employees was held at the site. Many attendees were more curious about the information being presented than the scrambled eggs and bacon. The tables in the Grove Ballroom were packed when it came time to officially welcome the new employees to IDT. Aeras CEO Thomas Evans and COO Jacqui Shea attended the event as guests. Aeras TB has already received significant grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation’s head of its vaccine project, Katey Owen, listened attentively during the breakfast. IDT CEO Dr. Pfirmann introduced the company, gave a detailed description of the vaccine business and explained why IDT was so interested in Aeras’s CMO business.
Participants paid close attention to the presentation of the new organization structure. And there were some disappointed faces when it was announced that the management positions had not yet been designated. Until the new managers come on board, Dr. Tino Galgon and Dr. Thomas will run the U.S. facility for the interim, together with Dr. Ralf Pfirmann as President of IDT Biologika Corporation. One of the charts depicted the IDT site’s legal business structure, showing it to be part of the IDT corporation founded in 2009 with headquarters in Herndon, Virginia.
Reorganization and production upgrades begin immediately
A business plan for the new unit is already in place, as Dr. Pfirmann explained, presenting an overview that summed up the already existing orders and the projected new business. In order to meet customer expectations, the IDT Rockville facilities and equipment will be upgraded immediately. Rad Farenwald, the new technical manager for production, explained that following some scheduled relocations in the building, the first major renovation work will already start this summer.
Just like in Dessau, every new employee received an IDT bag with information about IDT and a green IDT pen. Peter Kellner, the breakfast’s event host and head of corporate communications, presented the first English-language edition of IDT international as the inaugural issue. “In the future, integrating Rockville employees into the company through in-house communication will be a special priority. Such communication will facilitate your assimilation as new colleagues into the IDT family,” summed up Peter Kellner.
As might be expected, the new IDT employees had many questions about their future tasks, but also about the first days in the building now shared by Aeras and IDT.
Some facilities will be used in common, such as the large conference room on the third floor at 1405 Research Boulevard. The new set up was immediately given a trial run at a joint-management lunch. Dr. Pfirmann announced that the new location has established an impressive, powerful platform for communicating with important customers in the U.S.
A big party to end the day
All employees from Aeras and IDT met at the Hilton Garden Inn in Rockville to close out the day’s festivities. As described above, participants from both sides stressed the importance of working together in the new partnership. “It is also essential that each of us strive to be actively involved in this joint effort,” said Lotha Zot, Aeras Chairperson. “But then each of us should also remember today and the good reasons that led to the sale of the CMO business to IDT and to the start of the new partnership.”
There was broad agreement among guests. And so IDT’s Day One came to an end, with light hors d’oevres and cake, accompanied by a cold beer or a coke. Not even an approaching severe thunderstorm scared anyone away. There was too much to talk about on June 23, 2015.