Phytopharmaceuticals of the highest quality

Interview with Dr. Jörg Zimmer, Managing Director of Cesra Pharmaceuticals GmbH & Co. KG

Dr. Jörg Zimmer, Managing Director of Cesra Pharmaceuticals GmbH & Co. KG
Dr. Jörg Zimmer, Managing Director of Cesra Pharmaceuticals GmbH & Co. KG

The health-promoting effect of plants has a long tradition. Pioneers of phytotherapy were Paracelsus, Hippocrates, Hildegard von Bingen, or Sebastian Kneipp. Decades of knowledge about natural substances and drug manufacturing are also the basis for the success of Cesra Pharmaceuticals GmbH & Co. KG. This knowledge, in combination with the latest findings on the mode of action and effectiveness of medicinal plants, forms the basis for the production of Cesra's phytopharmaceuticals.

Economic Forum: Mr. Dr. Zimmer, you are one of the two managing directors of Cesra, a producer and distributor of herbal medicines. Which products are primarily involved?

Dr. Jörg Zimmer: We exclusively work with medicines containing herbal active and ingredients. Classics in our range include ilon Salve Classic and Aescuven. Ilon is a salve based on a plant complex of larch, pine, and eucalyptus, which has proven effective in the treatment of local skin inflammations. Aescuven is a tried and tested preparation for the treatment of venous disorders. Since the winter of 2022, we have introduced two new products to our range, Lioran and Gasteo, which mark a milestone in the company's history. Lioran stands for a herbal sleep concept, a noticeably high sleep quality thanks to the ideal efficacy profile of the passionflower. There are two complementary products: Lioran classic for people who want to stop their mind's merry-go-round, glide peacefully into sleep, and remain calm throughout the day, and Lioran centra for promoting sleep, in cases of problems falling and staying asleep. With Gasteo, we offer a herbal medicine to alleviate mild digestive issues such as feelings of fullness, flatulence, or spasmodic complaints in the gastrointestinal tract. Potentilla anserina is the main ingredient here, and Gasteo also contains licorice root, angelica root, blessed thistle, wormwood, and chamomile flowers. We took over Lioran and Gasteo in 2022; they are proven products known in the market, which have fully met our expectations so far.

Cesra Pharmaceuticals Lioran
Lioran - a herbal sleep concept that ensures restful sleep with the power of passionflower
Cesra Pharmaceuticals Gasteo
Gasteo - naturally effective for stomach and digestive problems

Economic Forum: What does the company Cesra look like behind these products and services?

Dr. Jörg Zimmer: Cesra was founded in 1929, has about 110 employees today, and is particularly characterized by the fact that profits not invested in securing the company's future flow into the Redel Foundation. Everything that goes into this foundation is used 100% for social purposes. Unlike other foundations, there are no individual persons, such as a community of heirs, involved. The entire Cesra team is very much influenced by the foundation and its mission to help people. We live the passion "To help people" in a twofold way - through our products and the foundation.

Economic Forum: How does this mission influence your work as managing director?

Dr. Jörg Zimmer: Before I came to Cesra, I was working in Big Pharma. The decision to move to Cesra was a very conscious one. It is important to me that my work also has a social character. This is already expressed in Cesra through the mission idea, which I live and promote with joy.

Economic Forum: Are there any special challenges you face as managing director at Cesra?

Dr. Jörg Zimmer: In addition to focusing on the mission statement, we are driving the transformation of the company in terms of its culture and values, but also in terms of intensified digitalization. We have just completed a very comprehensive ERP upgrade, we are currently introducing a document management system, switching to an HR management tool, and we are examining further implementations to advance digitalization. A central role in our daily dealings is our conviction for continuous improvement. Here, our claim is to learn from the best externally and to become a little better every day through training, workshops, and much more.

Cesra Pharmaceuticals Redel Foundation
The Redel Foundation stands for the mission 'To help people'; everything that flows into the foundation is used 100% for social purposes

Economic Forum: How do you currently assess the market?

Dr. Jörg Zimmer: The demand for our products is high; the number of people suffering from sleep problems is steadily increasing. While there are many competitors in the OTC market and an increasing number of dietary supplements entering the market, our products set themselves apart with tested indications. We have excellent staff, a work culture characterized by team spirit, and proven effective quality products with clear indications – and thus we are in a good position to continue growing despite stiff competition. One of our trump cards in the market is the quality throughout the entire supply chain of our phyto-pharmaceuticals. All production stages and documentations follow the international rules of Good Manufacturing Practise (GMP) applicable to pharmaceuticals. The guidelines encompass all manufacturing steps from the production building through to technical equipment and packaging. Training, qualification, and education of the staff are also included. A comprehensive quality management system serves as a central control instrument for the manufacturing processes. These challenges are particularly pertinent for phyto-pharmaceuticals due to the complex manufacturing and analytics involved. In addition to our own products, we offer our highly technical production facilities and laboratories for contract work. This allows other companies in the pharmaceutical sector to benefit from Cesra's long-standing know-how.

Economic Forum: Is growth a declared goal?

Dr. Jörg Zimmer: Yes. That's why we want to establish new products, take over more product groups, and have a great interest in going abroad, for example to China. In operations, we focus on a continuous improvement process in terms of quality, cost, and delivery capability, and we get a little better every day. At the same time, we are aware of many complex challenges that go far beyond production and sales. Climate change, the Ukraine war, the crisis in China – all of this influences our work, also because the ingredients of our drugs are harvested all over the world. Despite these complex conditions, we remain optimistic about being able to offer phyto-pharmaceuticals of the highest quality in the future.