IPI Speaks with Dr. Victor Diaz, Operations Director at Solitek on a New Concept in Solid State
Development Services for the Pharmaceutical, Agrochemical and Fine Chemical Industries.
Q: Solitek brings a new concept in solid state development services for the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and fine chemical industries. Can you tell our readers a brief history of the company, how you started and your growth so far?
A: I met Steve in Cambridge, UK, in 2000, through some common acquaintances from the Chemistry Department at Lensfield Road. At the time, we both were working for discovery companies. We became good friends and have been in touch over the years, even after moving to different countries.
Both Steve and I did our PhDs and started our professional careers doing synthetic organic chemistry. But, by pure serendipity, we both ended up in the world of solid state development. Steve specialised in the development of crystallisation processes, while I spent most of the time providing solid state services for small and medium size biotech and pharma companies mainly, initially working hands on in the lab, and later leading large teams in some wellknown CDMOs in UK.
During this time, we got to understand solid state profoundly, and realised that to achieve its maximum potential, we needed to move away from the constraints we had in our jobs at the time. For instance, to work on different industries optimising the physical properties of the different compounds, which would ultimately lead to an improvement on the performance for the application for which these compounds have been designed, was not an option in labs and manufacturing plants that were designed to produce materials that were going to be administered to patients. It was also an opportunity to develop areas that were the normal next step in the work that we had been doing to date, something that we could not do in our previous jobs since it escaped from our core roles at the time.
So, we got together, and we set up what was initially a consultancy company, but then very soon it became evident that we needed to bring some niche services in. We made our business plan, put our savings together and got a couple of loans from banks to bring some analytical instrumentation specific for solid state research. When we started in July 2021, it was just Steve and me. Now we have €400K worth of instruments, labs in the Parc Cientific de Barcelona, and another three people on board who are really the ones responsible for the growth of the company. And we are envisaging additional growth in the coming months.