MedHemScience brings Hemofreeze back to Drenthe
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MedHemScience brings hemofreeze back to Drenthe

Until 2015, dozens of people worked on the production of blood bags at Fresenius Kabi in Emmer-Compascuum. Then it was moved to Austria. Since the middle of last year, production has been back in the
region, in Emmen to be exact. If it is up to MedHemScience, it will not stop there.

What if a major medical manufacturer closes a business unit or divests a loss-making product? Indeed, then jobs are lost and valuable knowledge remains untapped. That, of course, is a shame. It was with this in mind that MedHemScience was founded. The Emmen-based company develops and produces medical disposables. "We take over existing production processes in order to then develop new activities," is how Hendrik van Gent, one of the initiators, succinctly summarizes the working method.

Medical multinational

MedHemScience is part of Business Creation, where Van Gent is active as redevelopment manager. Business Creation has focused on redevelopment and restructuring at large international companies in particular since 1982. This is how they once ended up at Fresenius Kabi, a medical multinational that for a long time produced blood bags, under the name Hemofreeze, in Emmer-Compascuum. In 2015, however, the production of these disposables was moved to Austria.

About 120 jobs were lost in the village in Drenthe as a result. A few years later, the Austrian factory closed down. 'Shortly thereafter we decided to buy Hemofreeze and move the production of the blood bags back to Emmen,' says Van Gent. 'After all, there are people with expertise available there. Of development, sales and distribution, but especially of the complicated certification process.'

MedHemScience brings Hemofreeze back to Drenthe

Good start

In May 2017, MedHemScience took over the plant in Austria permanently. Late last year, there was good news again. The company was told by TÜV that both the production process and the production environment meet all European standards. Van Gent: 'If you take over a company in Austria in five months, move it to Emmen, employ people, get certified and then start up, then you can safely speak of a promising start.' That good start was made possible in part by funding from the MKB Fonds Drenthe. On behalf of the Province of Drenthe, this fund, which is implemented by the NOM, supports promising companies in realizing their innovative plans.

And promising the company certainly is. That was evident from the numerous interviews, the business plan and the extensive market research. 'We are convinced that MedHemScience adds relevant economic and social value to the region,' says investment manager Emmy Saimi-Roozeboom of MKB Fonds Drenthe. 'Already, production processes and related employment have been brought to Drenthe that would previously have been lost.'


Hemofreeze is the first product to be developed, improved and marketed by MedHemScience. The activities take place from premises purchased from Fresenius on Marco Polostraat in Emmen. Unlike earlier at the multinational company, mass production is now not taking place. It involves considerably smaller quantities. MedHemScience currently employs ten people. For a large part former employees of Fresinius who were involved in the production of blood bags there in the past.

The number of employees is expected to increase significantly over time. Because the company wants to focus on more products than just Hemofreeze. Talks are already being held with other medical multinationals that want to clean up their product portfolio. For example, because the market for a certain product has become too small for them. 'We not only want to accommodate such a product in Emmen, but also become its owner,' Van Gent emphasizes. 'Or more precisely, MedHemScience wants to be responsible for production as well as sales and distribution. These are often products in niche markets. In other words, products with a low volume and a loyal customer base and which also require a lot of specialized knowledge and expertise.'

MedTech Park

MedHemScience works closely with Health Hub Roden, which acts as a connecting link in the world of medical technology between entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions and government. 'Whereas Health Hub deals with translating knowledge into start-up companies, we focus on fast-growing medical manufacturing companies, so-called grown-ups,' says Van Gent. 'That obviously fits together very nicely.' There are also concrete plans to set up a Med-Tech Park in Emmen. The initiative is primarily intended to create physical infrastructure for medical SME start-ups. 'This involves matters such as housing, knowledge and facilities that are too expensive for an individual company and that they therefore prefer to share with others,' Van Gent explains. 'Think of a shared production environment, being able to use a clean room or sharing knowledge regarding regulatory affairs, for example.'

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