In 2014 Mercachem acquired a modern kilogram-scale facility in Prague and seamlessly integrated into their process research services. Today we talk to Magdalena Malachowska, PhD, Project Leader at Mercachem Prague s.r.o.
How long have you been at Mercachem?
‘I have been working at Mercachem for over one and a half years.’
What is your function?
‘I work as a Project Leader (Process Research, GMP Facilities Prague)’.
Could you tell us something about your daily work?
‘I am assigned specific projects, so the work involves project management, reporting, literature searches, and planning experiments with the goal of enabling scaleup of the synthesis. After research and development (R&D) activities are finished, synthesis of the demonstration batch takes place, typically 3–4 kg of the final compound. Most of the time, I work in the laboratory carrying out experiments, analyzing results, and writing reports. When the production of the demo batch is ongoing, my role is to supervise it.’
What has been the biggest change, since working with Mercachem?
‘For me, work at Mercachem has been a big change in comparison with my previous professional experience. I am an organic chemist and I was experienced in classical organic synthesis on the gram scale. Before coming to Mercachem, I had no experience with process chemistry. However, I graduated from the Technical University and my experience there has helped me to deal with my new role. Some of my work colleagues also help me by sharing their experiences and giving advice.’
What is the biggest cultural difference and how do you cope with this?
‘I don’t really feel big cultural differences. Of course they exist, but I try not to focus on differences, but rather find common ground with other people. I am Polish and at Mercachem Prague I am the only foreigner. I usually work with Czech or Dutch colleagues. I have friends from different countries. I have learned to be tolerant.’
Do you have a lot contact with your Dutch colleagues?
‘I would say I have quite a lot of contact with my Dutch bosses: Goran Verspui and Eric Damen. From time to time, I am in touch with other Dutch colleagues, when the project requires this. Unfortunately, I have only met a few people from Mercachem Nijmegen in person. These are people who have visited the Prague site.’
Do you look forward to meeting your Dutch colleagues in September for the 20th anniversary celebration party?
‘Of course, I am looking forward to finally meeting Dutch colleagues. Not only Dutch colleagues, because many foreigners work at Mercachem Nijmegen. I am looking forward to meeting all employees. I hope that the celebration party (or rather celebration weekend) will allow me to meet many new colleagues and to meet people I have collaborated with during my previous projects in person.’
What is your most memorable moment working at Mercachem?
‘I can’t remember any really "memorable" moments. Maybe it’s because I have only been working at Mercachem for a short period, so far. I hope this memorable moment will come in September, during the Mercachem anniversary celebration.’
‘You should ask me again after the celebration!’